Major League Soccer

New York City FC-FC Dallas Preview

While maintaining the top spot in the Eastern Conference is a priority for New York City FC, just making the playoffs is all FC Dallas wants.

Looking to extend its unbeaten run to eight games, NYCFC visits a Dallas side that needs to find some offense in a hurry.

NYCFC (16-5-9) has surged to the top of the East table while going 6-0-1 since losing at Atlanta United FC on Aug. 11. City gets another crack at the reigning MLS champs, who are trying to catch it in the table, this coming week. Before that, however, New York has some work to take care of in suburban Dallas.

"The goal is always to win the next game," NYCFC coach Domenec Torrent told the club's official website. "This is how they are focused. If not, it you lose the focus, you are in trouble 100 percent."The next game is Dallas, we have to be focused in Dallas, and after that I know how difficult it will be to play against Atlanta … But the focus is Dallas, the next game."

Trying to match a season high with its third consecutive road victory, City reportedly appears set to get back the services of stellar playmaker Maxi Moralez. With his 18 assists and seven goals in tow, Moralez is slated to return Sunday after missing last weekend's 2-1 home victory over San Jose with a hamstring injury.

NYCFC leading scorer Heber (14 goals), meanwhile, reportedly could return from a quad issue as early as Wednesday versus Atlanta.

Dallas (12-11-8) likely wishes it had the caliber of offensive-minded stars like Moralez and Heber. Especially, since it's been blanked in two straight games after totaling 11 goals while going 2-0-1 in the previous three.

The good news for FCD is that its defense regrouped in a big way from a 4-0 loss at Chicago last weekend, to play Seattle to a scoreless draw on the road Wednesday. The point earned from the latter helped push Dallas back over the playoff line in the Western Conference.

"That's a positive step for us," Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez, whose side enters its matchday in the seventh and final playoff spot in the West, told the team's official website. "Now, take that foundation, (defensively), and implement a little more of an aggressive attack on to Sunday. Every point counts. The next opportunity is to maximize and get all three points."

FCD, which has five players with at least five goals in 2019, is 1-0-1 at home all-time versus NYCFC.

Updated September 20, 2019

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