COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Gary Smith doesn’t plan on holding anything back when the Colorado Rapids take the field against Toronto FC on Sunday (7 pm ET, MatchDay Live).
And why should he? The oft-injured Rapids haven’t necessarily been amazing of late, but they’re still unbeaten in their last four and staring down two home games in the span of seven days.
“Our aim will be to make sure the game is quick and overwhelm them in those opening periods,” said Colorado's head coach, “so that we can put real doubt in their minds about them getting any kind of result.”
Although the Rapids will once again play without injured forwards Caleb Folan (groin) and Omar Cummings (ankle), Conor Casey appears set to earn his first start since suffering a hamstring injury on April 3.
Casey came on as a substitute during Colorado’s 1-1 draw on the road against D.C. United, and will likely start alongside either Quincy Amarikwa or Andre Akpan up top.
Smith will also have a choice to make in the midfield, where Sanna Nyassi will challenge Wells Thompson for a spot in the starting lineup. With speed the essence at home, Nyassi, who has impressed offensively recently, could get the nod.
The Rapids boss also said this week that Nyassi and midfielder Ross LaBaeux could even play up front given their speed and the need to cover for injuries. The two played up top during a midweek scrimmage against a local club team.
Defensively, the team has favored Drew Moor at left back in recent games, and that could continue this weekend, withTyrone Marshall and Marvell Wynne in the middle of defense. If Smith wants to emphasize speed down the flanks, however, he may opt for Anthony Wallace. Wallace missed the DC trip because of groin problems, but did play in the midweek scrimmage.
Danny Earls or Scott Palguta are other left back options.