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Preview: Upward Toronto look to continue trend vs Rapids

TOR_vs_COL_2012_07_18_DL

Photo Credit: 
Gabriel de los Rios / MLSsoccer.com

TORONTO FC vs COLORADO RAPIDS
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
July 18, 2012 (WEEK 20, MLS Game #184)
7 p.m. ET (SNET One; Altitude) 

Riding their first winning streak of the league campaign, Toronto FC return home to take on the Colorado Rapids in an interconference matchup Wednesday evening at BMO Field. TFC have won back-to-back games, coming off a 1-0 victory at the New England Revolution last weekend. The Rapids are in the throes of a three-game losing slide, following a 2-1 home loss to FC Dallas last weekend.

REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. SAR (bench): Peter Manikowski; JAR (opposite): Craig Lowry; 4th: Geoff Gamble
MLS Career: 2 games; FC/gm: 22.5; Y/gm: 2.5; R: 2; pens: 2

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE HERE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT:

  • TORONTO FC – OUT: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); DF Jeremy Hall (L hamstring strain), FW Danny Koevermans (L ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: FW Nicholas Lindsay (L knee surgery recovery); DF Ty Harden (R adductor strain); DF Adrian Cann (R knee sprain)
  • COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); PROBABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R ACL tear); FW Conor Casey (R hamstring strain); FW Omar Cummings (L ankle sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Ryan Johnson, Torsten Frings. Ashtone Morgan … COL: Jeff Larentowicz
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Julian de Guzman, Richard Eckersley, Reggie Lambe, Richard Eckersley … COL: Jaime Castrillon, Tyrone Marshall, Martin Rivero, Tyson Wahl

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (10 meetings): Toronto FC 6 wins, 13 goals … Rapids 3 wins, 10 goals … Ties 1
AT TORONTO (5 meetings): Toronto FC 5 wins, 11 goals … Rapids 0 wins, 5 goals … Ties 0
• Toronto FC have five wins in five all-time meetings with Colorado at BMO Field, including a 2-1 win in the second meeting a season ago.
• TFC haven’t won on their last three trips to Commerce City, the teams playing to a scoreless draw last year after the Rapids won each of the two previous seasons.
• Coaches record: Paul Mariner vs. COL: first game … Oscar Pareja vs. TOR: first game

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC put together back-to-back wins for the first time in league play this season, getting the game’s only goal for a win against the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. TFC are in last place in the Eastern Conference, with 16 points from 19 games.

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: NE 0, TOR 1

• The game's lone goal came after eight minutes. Neat buildup play between Reggie Lambe, Danny Koevermans and Luis Silva prompted a quick one-two on the edge of the penalty area between Koevermans and Silva. The return pass played Silva through into the penalty area, and the rookie made no mistake on the close-range finish.
• TFC head coach Paul Mariner made two changes to the team that got a late winner for a 3-2 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at BMO Field. Doneil Henry came in at right back for Jeremy Hall, and Reggie Lambe replaced the departed Julian de Guzman.
• TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Milos Kocic - Doneil Henry, Logan Emory, Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan - Reggie Lambe (Aaron Maund 69), Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield, Luis Silva (Matt Stinson 90) - Danny Koevermans (Andrew Wiedeman 41), Ryan Johnson.

TEAM NEWS
• Toronto FC have put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season in league play. TFC have just one loss in their last eight league matches, going 3-1-4 since June 20.
• “We started off 4-4-2, and then we went to 4-5-1 then later on we just had to try and stem the tide a little bit so we went back to 4-4-2,” said Mariner. “New England were pressing and pressing, and had some chances. [Goalkeeper Milos Kocic] made a couple of great saves for us, but having said that, we could have had more goals on the break.”
• TFC suffered a serious injury blow, though, when Danny Koevermans was forced off late in the first half with what was later found to be a torn ACL in his left knee. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season.
• Said Kocic: “We all devoted this win to one person. We lost a big part of our team. We played this game for him.”

WATCH: Mariner discusses Koevermans injury

• Added defender Richard Eckersley: “Danny is a massive part of this squad, he’s a big character on the team and we wanted to [win] for him tonight. Hopefully now this will inspire us on to get more results.”
• Luis Silva has scored his first two professional goals in back-to-back games, after netting the opener three days earlier vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
• “Someone’s going to have to step up and become a goal scorer for us. You know Luis [Silva] has two in two, you can see what a good player he is,” said Mariner.
• Andrew Wiedeman made his debut for the club after arriving from FC Dallas in a trade for Designated Player Julian de Guzman.
• “A couple of boys thrown right into the deep end tonight, Aaron Maund and Andrew Wiedeman came in and did great shifts, so it bodes well for us,” said Mariner.
• TFC kept a clean sheet for the third time this season. All three of their league victories have come by shutout. “If you look at the back four, the average age of the back four is what 21, 22 – quite remarkable. They’re learning on the job and they’re learning very quick. I thought the screen in front was fantastic.”
• Said Kocic: “I felt like we should have stepped up a little bit more. We gave them the ball a lot and let them play a lot. They played a lot of chances. We shouldn’t give so many set pieces and corners. I think that is the only thing we can improve on for next game, but otherwise I think everybody was fighting for each other.”

 

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids saw their losing skid reach three games, FC Dallas coming back for a 2-1 win Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in sixth place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 19 games.

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: COL 1, DAL 2

• The Rapids took the lead five minutes into the second half. Conor Casey found an unmarked Omar Cummings in all kinds of space down the right side, and he fired home from the angle, beating Kevin Hartman to the near post.
• But FCD leveled the score at 1-1 just 10 minutes later. Cleaning up a cleared corner, Fabian Castillo’s speed created room for his cross into the box, which found the substitute Carlos Rodriguez at the back post.
• The winner came nine minutes from the end. A perfect ball from David Ferreira found Rodriguez on the right flank, but his cut-back was headed off the line by a retreating Drew Moor. But Castillo was there to smash home the rebound.
• Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the side that dropped a 2-1 decision to Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Omar Cummings came back into the side in place of Jamie Smith.
• COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Hunter Freeman, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata (Edu 85) - Brian Mullan (Tony Cascio 71), Martin Rivero, Jeff Larentowicz, Jaime Castrillon (Jamie Smith 68) - Omar Cummings, Conor Casey.

TEAM NEWS
• The Rapids have suffered three losses in a row for the second time this season, matching their losing run from April 7-21.
• “In a game like tonight, it’s probably a reflection of what has been happening in many of the games. We do a lot of good things, but then we don’t finalize the job and then that happens,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. “It is frustrating, but we cannot lose our heads. I don’t want the group to lose their heads, because it’s a fragile moment when you don’t get results, and you’ve got to keep going.”
• Colorado have five defeats in their six matches since June 16, all by a single goal.
• “I think the way we’re representing our club on our home field is pretty damn embarrassing. We think we have something and then we come out with nothing, and it’s become a trend,” said goalkeeper Matt Pickens. “Now we’ve got to dig real deep going on the road and hopefully we get something out of these games coming up, but it doesn’t get easier for us.”
• Omar Cummings netted his second goal in as many matches, set up by strike partner Conor Casey. The pair started together up top for the third time in the last four games.
• “Collectively we just keep finding ways to shoot ourselves in the foot,” Casey said. “We had a lot of chances in the first half again and don’t finish, and when you don’t finish, then it makes it a lot harder on us. It’s just disappointing and we keep finding ways to not get the points.”
• The Rapids have lost three games this season after opening the scoring, tied for second-most in MLS (Montréal has done it five times).
• “We just gave up another couple of bad goals. But it’s the same old story, I’m tired of it, and I know these guys are tired of it,” said defender Drew Moor. “We’ve got to put this behind us. It’s not time to get frustrated. And as easy as it would be and as much as everybody wants to be frustrated, it’s a big week and we’ve got to try to put this one behind us and learn from those mistakes that we made.”