Preview: Rapids, TFC both looking to get into the win column

Colorado vs TFC

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The Colorado Rapids come off a three-game Eastern swing to face Toronto FC on Sunday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are undefeated in their last four games, playing a second consecutive draw, 1-1 at D.C. United last weekend. TFC are coming off a 2-2 home draw with the Chicago Fire last weekend in league play, also playing to a draw at midweek with Vancouver in the Canadian Championship final.

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REFEREE: Abbey Okulaja. SAR (bench): Philippe Briere; JAR (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: Elias Bazakos MLS Career: 106 games; FC/gm: 27.3; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 18; pens: 25

INJURY REPORT:
COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: FW Omar Cummings (R ankle sprain); FW Caleb Folan (R groin strain); FW Macoumba Kandji (L knee ACL tear); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain); FW Quincy Amarikwa (L ankle sprain); FW Conor Casey (L hamstring strain); DF Eddie Ababio (R hamstring strain)

TORONTO FC – OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); DOUBTFUL: DF Mikael Yourassowsky (L knee tendonitis); QUESTIONABLE: FW Alan Gordon (adductor strain); FW Keith Makubuya (adductor strain); MF Gianluca Zavarise (adductor strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED:
COL: Brian Mullan (through June 26)

TOR: Julian de Guzman (yellow card accumulation; through
May 22).

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Conor Casey, Drew Moor … TOR: Dan Gargan

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (8 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 9 goals … Toronto FC 5 wins, 11 goals … Ties 0
  • AT COLORADO (4 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 5 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 0
  • RETURN MATCH: 9/17: Toronto FC vs. Colorado Rapids, 1:30 p.m. ET (TSN)

LAST YEAR (MLS):

4/18: COL 3, TOR 1 (Casey 24, 85; Larentowicz 71 – De Rosario 58)
7/10: TOR 1, COL 0 (Ibrahim 61)

  • In eight all-time meetings between the clubs, the home side has won just once – a 1-0 win by Toronto FC at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in 2008.
  • TFC and the Rapids have never played to a draw.
  • Coaches records: Gary Smith vs. TOR: P4 W2 L2 D0 … Aron Winter v COL: first game

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids completed a three-game Eastern road swing undefeated, playing to a 1-1 draw with D.C. United on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. The Rapids have 15 points from 10 games, sitting in fourth place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The visitors opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Jamie Smith’s in swinging delivery from the left side wasn’t cleared by the United defense, and Drew Moor pounced on the loose ball, sliding a shot past United goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
  • But United pulled even in the 62nd minute. Working on the far left of the Colorado area, Chris Pontius collided with Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura. Both players went down, but referee Terry Vaughn pointed to the spot. With normal United penalty taker Charlie Davies off injured, Pontius stepped up and beat Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens to level the score.
  • Rapids head coach Gary Smith made two changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Jamie Smith and Andre Akpan came into the team, for Scott Palguta and Caleb Folan.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor - Jamie Smith, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Ross LaBauex 95+) - Andre Akpan (Sanna Nyassi 75), Quincy Amarikwa (Conor Casey 67).

MLS GAME INFORMATION

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids concluded a three-game Eastern swing unbeaten with the 1-1 draw at D.C. United; they defeated Houston 2-1 before playing to a scoreless draw at New England.
  • "I'm extremely pleased that we've stayed unbeaten," Rapids coach Gary Smith said. "Three away games on the spin are not easy, and they're made even more difficult when you travel to the East Coast because it's a four-hour journey."
  • The Colorado goal in D.C. was scored by Drew Moor, his first goal since June 5 of last year and the second in three games scored by a Rapids defender.
  • “It’s just one of those things you go over in training. You go forward enough times which I have – it’s been about a year since I’ve scored – you’re bound to get a bounce to go your way and that’s kind of what happened. … I had a little bit of finishing to do, but it’s always good to get set piece goals,” Moor said.
  • It was the second goal from a set piece for the Rapids this season; the first was directly from a free kick by Jamie Smith, May 4 vs. Houston.
  • “That’s something that we’ve really been focusing on. It’s so hard to try to win games with goals out of the run of play and I think that just kind of set the tone for us and gave us confidence and allowed us to continue to keep decent possession and move the ball quickly,” said Pablo Mastroeni.
  • With Caleb Folan again injured, Andre Akpan and Quincy Amarikwa were the starting strike pair. Colorado could have striker Conor Casey back for the Toronto game after he made a 30-minute substitute appearance against United, his first outing in more than a month.
  • “The two young guns did great in the first half,” Smith said. “It was more difficult in the second. (Conor) was very bright when he came on and that gave us a big boost.”

TORONTO FC

Toronto FC returned to BMO Field and were pegged back for a 2-2 draw by the Chicago Fire after opening up a two-goal lead on Saturday evening. TFC has 11 points from 11 games on the season, in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • Toronto FC got off to an ideal start. Joao Plata collected the ball on the left flank and ran toward the top of the box, curling a low, right-footed shot inside the far post for a 1-0 advantage.
  • Shortly after the break, TFC doubled their margin when Maicon Santos fired a speculative shot from 30 yards out which went right through the legs of Fire goalkeeper Jon Conway.
  • Fire manager Carlos de los Cobos inserted Orr Barouch, and the 19-year-old striker quickly made his mark. He earned a foul at the top of the box in the 63rd minute, and Marco Pappa curled a magnificent left-footed free kick that found the top right corner.
  • Chicago completed the comeback 13 minutes later. Corben Bone sent in a ball from the right which crossed the face of the goal before an unmarked Barouch connected with his knee on a sliding effort, bundling the ball over the line.
  • TFC head coach Aron Winter made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park. Dan Gargan came into the back four for Danleigh Borman, and Maicon Santos replaced Alen Stevanovic up top.
  • TORONTO FC (4-1-2-3): Stefan Frei - Richard Eckersley, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Dan Gargan - Julian de Guzman, Jacob Peterson, Tony Tchani - Nick Soolsma (Matt Gold 87), Maicon Santos (Javier Martina 84), Joao Plata (Alen Stevanovic 61)

TEAM NEWS

  • TFC still have just one victory in their last nine league games (since the start of April), a 2-1 win against Houston on May 7.
  • “I think in the second half we didn’t want to play anymore, and that’s why I think we lost because in the first half we were pushing up and putting pressure up front. In the second half after the second goal, we didn’t do that anymore,” Winter said. “We have given away two points.”
  • Joao Plata scored a goal and added an assist for the second time in three games last weekend. Both performances have come since Plata moved into Aron Winter’s starting lineup, though Plata came off shortly after the hour mark against Chicago.
  • “Plata is very young and he played well, and we saw that he was a little bit tired,” Winter said. “You have to be careful with the young players, and that’s why we changed him, to spare him, because in the coming weeks we are playing a lot of games. The score was also 2-0 at that moment.”
  • TFC will be without Designated Player Julian de Guzman for the Colorado match, after he received his fifth yellow card of the season, putting him over the limit. De Guzman had started seven consecutive matches and played the full 90 in three in a row, increasingly effective in a deep-lying holding role in central midfield.
  • “If he remained running with the guy he wouldn’t have got a yellow card,” Winter said. “It is stupid, and now we’re going to miss him.”

MLS GAME INFORMATION

  • Defender Danleigh Borman was unavailable because of personal reasons, while Mikael Yourassowsky also missed the game due to a left knee injury.
  • Even with those absences, center back Nana Attakora was not among the 18-man gameday squad. “Any other player I don’t think people would be making this big of a deal … because of the season I had last year, people speculate,” Attakora told the Toronto Sun.
  • On Wednesday, TFC went to Empire Field and came away with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship final. Eric Hassli scored in the 64th minute for Whitecaps FC, but Maicon Santos leveled terms nine minutes later.
  • Here’s the TFC team: Stefan Frei; Richard Eckersley, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann, Dan Gargan; Jacob Peterson (Matt Gold 33), Julian De Guzman, Tony Tchani (Oscar Cordon 46); Nick Soolsma, Maicon Santos, Joao Plata (Ty Harden 76)
  • The Voyageurs Cup and the CONCACAF Champions League berth that comes along with it will be decided May 25 at BMO Field. “We know that we didn’t play well, but sometimes you don’t play well and you get a good result,” Winter said. “This is not a stolen [result].”