Toronto FC vs. Colorado Rapids, Sept. 17, 2011 (image)
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Preview: Short week a factor as TFC, Rapids face off

A pair of teams coming off heavy defeats in the CONCACAF Champions League meet at BMO Field when Toronto FC entertain the Colorado Rapids. TFC defeated Columbus for the first time ever in league play last weekend, but lost to Mexican side Pumas 4-0 at midweek. The Rapids also lost to a Mexican side, a 4-1 defeat by Santos Laguna, and saw their MLS losing streak stretched to three games in their last league match.


REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Claudio Badea; JAR (opposite): Brian Poeschel; 4th: Mark Geiger
MLS Career: 14 games; FC/gm: 23.1; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 5; pens: 5

INJURY REPORT: TORONTO FC – TORONTO FC -- OUT: MF Elbekay Bouchiba (R knee surgery recovery); DF Adrian Cann (R knee surgery recovery); DF Dicoy Williams (R knee surgery recovery); MF Joao Plata (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: DF Demitrius Omphroy (R knee swelling); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dasan Robinson (L adductor tightness); GK Stefan Frei (quadriceps contusion); MF Matt Stinson (R metacarpal fracture) …

COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: FW Conor Casey (L achilles tear); DF Anthony Wallace (R knee arthroscopic surgery); QUESTIONABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R hamstring strain / R calf strain); PROBABLE: GK Matt Pickens (R groin strain)

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: TOR: Danleigh Borman … COL:Conor Casey, Brian Mullan
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: TOR: Terry Dunfield, Ty Harden, Ryan Johnson, Javier Martina, Mikael Yourassowsky … COL: Ross LaBauex, Caleb Folan, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Tyrone Marshall, Sanna Nyassi, Wells Thompson, Anthony Wallace

ALL-TIME (9 meetings): Toronto FC 5 wins, 11 goals … Rapids 3 wins, 9 goals …  Ties 1
AT TORONTO (4 meetings): Toronto FC 4 wins, 9 goals …Rapids 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 0
•    The teams played to a scoreless draw in their first meeting this season, May 22 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
•    TFC has a perfect record against Colorado at BMO Field, winning all four previous meetings.
•    In nine all-time meetings between the clubs, the visiting side has won just once – a 1-0 win by Toronto FC at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in 2008.
•    Coaches record: Aron Winter v COL: P1 W0 L0 D1 … Gary Smith vs. TOR: P5 W2 L2 D1

5/22: COL 0, TOR 0
•    Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens was the busier of the two on the night, making three saves, including one on a close-range effort from Nick Soolsma just before halftime. Mikael Yourassowsky also blasted a shot off the crossbar in the 62nd minute.
•    TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei made two saves for his third shutout, his second this season in a scoreless draw.
•    COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Tyrone Marshall, Anthony Wallace - Kosuke Kimura, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith (Sanna Nyassi 46) - Quincy Amarikwa (Wells Thompson 67), Conor Casey (Andre Akpan 61).
•    TORONTO FC (4-3-3): Stefan Frei - Richard Eckersley, Dicoy Williams, Adrian Cann (Ty Harden 76), Dan Gargan - Alen Stevanovic, Nathan Sturgis (Nana Attakora 84), Mikael Yourassowsky - Nick Soolsma, Javier Martina, Joao Plata (Maicon Santos 60).

Toronto FC won the Trillium Cup for the first time, defeating the Columbus Crew for the first time ever, a 4-2 victory Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. TFC has 27 points from 29 games on the season, sitting in a three-way tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

•    Toronto FC took the lead in the 21st minute when a corner kick was headed out of the area by Crew defender Josh Gardner, but only as far as Torsten Frings, who cracked a 25-yard shot into the center of the box. The ball found Nick Soolsma in the mixer and he turned and quickly fired home.
•    TFC then doubled their lead just before the break, when Joao Plata sent in a looping ball from the left flank than Ryan Johnson headed back across goal inside the left post.
•    The Crew drew a goal back in the 67th minute after substitute Tommy Heinemann finished a quality combination play, turning home a low centering pass from Robbie Rogers past substitute 'keeper Milos Kocic. But Julian de Guzman restored the advantage in the 83rd minute, latching onto a loose ball and sending a low shot to the back of the net from outside the area.
•    Columbus again cut down the lead when Andrés Mendoza hammered a rising shot into the goal from the top of the area, but TFC sealed the win in stoppage time when Danny Koevermans rounded goalkeeper William Hesmer well out of his area and curled the ball into an empty net.
•    TFC head coach Aron Winter made two changes to the team that gained a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Field. Stefan Frei returned between the posts in place of Milos Kocic, and Nick Soolsma took the spot of Peri Marosevic in attack.
•    TORONTO FC (4-2-1-3): Stefan Frei (Milos Kocic 66) - Richard Eckersley, Andy Iro, Ty Harden, Ashtone Morgan - Julian de Guzman, Torsten Frings - Eric Avila - Nick Soolsma (Matt Stinson 80), Ryan Johnson (Danny Koevermans 87), Joao Plata.

•    The 4-2 win in Columbus was not only the first-ever against the Crew for TFC, it was also the first league road victory of the season for the Reds, leaving just Houston and Vancouver still searching for a road win in 2011. Three teams in MLS history have gone through a season without winning on the road.
•    “I think if you’re playing against a team like Columbus, away, and you’re making four goals, it’s a great compliment because it’s not easy,” said TFC head coach Aron Winter. “We were good with our opportunities but we also won in the pass as well. It’s good, we are making improvements.”
•    TFC Designated Player Julian de Guzman scored for the second time in five games and recorded a goal and an assist in the same game for the first time in his MLS career in Columbus.
•    “All the goals, the movement, how we played in the final entry, I think we did well,” Winter said. “Most of the games we have created a lot of opportunities but we were not sharp enough with finishing, but today we were sharp with our opportunities even though they weren’t that good.”
•    Joao Plata contributed his team-leading fifth assist. In the last six games – all starts – Plata has a goal and three assists.
•    “If you watched the whole game, the goals we scored were great. After Stefan [Frei] got hurt there was about five minutes that we weren’t very organized, but then they scored and the team reacted well,” Winter said.
•    TFC was forced into a crucial change at the three-quarter mark, when goalkeeper Stefan Frei and Crew forward Emilio Rentería had to leave the game after a robust collision as both went for the ball near the Crew goal in the 66th minute.
•    Frei suffered a bruised thigh, and his availability is still to be determined. He was making his first start since Aug. 6; he suffered a bruised knee in training a few days following and gave way to Milos Kocic for three consecutive league starts.
•    Joao Plata is also in doubt for the weekend after suffering a hamstring strain last weekend. “It should be three weeks and maybe he can play,” Winter said.
•    On Wednesday, Toronto FC crashed to a second successive defeat in the CONCACAF Champions League, falling 4-0 to Pumas UNAM in Mexico City. Martín Bravo completed a hat trick before the halftime whistle, and defender Efraín Velarde added the fourth.
•    Here’s the TFC team: Milos Kocic - Ty Harden, Andy Iro (Eddy Viator 39), Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Torsten Frings, Julian de Guzmán, Danleigh Borman, Danny Koevermans (Terry Dunfield 56), Ryan Johnson (Peri Marosevic 49), Nick Soolsma

The Colorado Rapids went down to a third consecutive defeat, falling 1-0 to the LA Galaxy on Friday evening at The Home Depot Center. The Rapids have 41 points from 29 games, sitting in fifth place in the Western Conference.

•    The game's lone goal came in the 36th minute at the end of a flowing move. Chad Barrett received the ball in the center of the park after just staying onside. He slipped a ball forward to Sean Franklin, who then found Landon Donovan unmarked on the left side of the box. Donovan hammered the ball inside the far post, leaving Colorado 'keeper Matt Pickens no chance.
•    Rapids head coach Gary Smith made two changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Danny Earls started in place of the suspended Drew Moor, and Macoumba Kandji replaced Sanna Nyassi in attack.
•    COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura (Omar Cummings 69), Tyrone Marshall, Marvell Wynne, Danny Earls - Brian Mullan, Pablo Mastroeni, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson - Caleb Folan, Macoumba Kandji (Sanna Nyassi 39).

•    The Rapids have been shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since going three games without scoring, in losses to FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders FC from April 8-22.
•    “We created a few chances. It’s definitely a game that we need to reflect upon and continue work toward the type of form to make a run toward the playoffs,” said Pablo Mastroeni.
•    Macoumba Kandji made his first league start of the season, following three substitute appearances, missing the first 25 games of the year after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason.
•    But Kandji lasted just 39 minutes before coming off for Sanna Nyassi, who had started the previous two matches. “Sanna’s inclusion, I hoped, would give us a slightly better shape and a better opportunity to retain the ball. We saw more of that in the second half because he didn’t get on until the dying moments of the first,” said Rapids boss Gary Smith.
•    Smith also made a tactical shift for the final 20 minutes, going into a 3-4-3 scheme as Omar Cummings came on as a substitute. It was the fourth consecutive substitute appearance in league play for Cummings.
•    “Omar coming on to give us an added injection of pace as well. I think it unsettles defenders,” said Smith. “The difficulty tonight was that Omar had played two games for Jamaica in a short space of time. He did a lot of travel, same with Sanna. He went through an absolute grind coming back from Nairobi. It’s difficult.”
•    Goalkeeper Matt Pickens made a season-high eight saves in holding the Galaxy to the 1-0 result.
•    “The home team is going to attack a lot, I didn’t know it was going to be that much, but you have to try and be ready for anything,” Pickens said. “You just try to keep your team in the game and hopefully we can nick one at the end and we can get a point. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.”
•    On Tuesday, the Rapids fell 4-1 to Mexico’s Club Santos Laguna in the third match of play in Group B in the CONCACAF Champions League. Daniel Ludueña (14) and Oribe Peralta (27) put Santos ahead by 2-0 at halftime, then Carlos Quintero (64) and Cristian Suárez (71) completed the rout. Brian Mullan pulled a goal back 13 minutes from full time.
•    Here’s the Rapids team: Steward Ceus  - Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Scott Palguta, Danny Earls (Miguel Comminges 46), Pablo Mastroeni (Joseph Nane 69), Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Brian Mullan 56), Sanna Nyassi, Omar Cummings, Macoumba Kandji

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