COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The second-to-last time the Colorado Rapids set foot in Toronto, they walked away with MLS Cup 2010.
On Wednesday, the scuffling Rapids will simply look to walk away with three points when they battle Eastern Conference cellar-dwellers Toronto FC at BMO Field (7 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
"I think right now we need to turn the ship around,” goalkeeper Matt Pickens (above) told MLSsoccer.com by phone on Tuesday. “We’re playing three games in a row [and] we’re playing Toronto, who are really unpredictable. We need to get three points. That’s just a must. The way we’re losing is concerning.”
It’s been a season-worst struggle of late for the Rapids, who will enter Wednesday’s match with five losses in their last six games, including this past Saturday’s gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to last-place FC Dallas, where Colorado allowed two goals in the game’s final half hour to suffer yet another late defeat.
HIGHLIGHTS: COL 1, DAL 2
Following Saturday’s latest setback — Pickens labeled it as “embarrassing” in the postgame interviews — Colorado are now four points back of the LA Galaxy for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“In a game like [Saturday], it’s probably a reflection of what has been happening in many of the games,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “We do a lot of good things, but then we don’t finalize the job and then [the goals] happen. It is frustrating, but we cannot lose our heads.”
After battling a slew of injuries the first three months of the season, the Rapids are healthy again, athough now, the team is concentrating on getting its timing back after playing without several of its regular starters (Omar Cummings, Conor Casey, Marvell Wynne) for long stretches of the season.
Meanwhile, Toronto will be without the services of leading scorer Danny Koevermans, who suffered a torn ACL in Saturday’s 1-0 win in New England. However, Toronto will also enter Wednesday’s game with back-to-back wins in league play for the first time this season.
The visitors, meanwhile, will hope to exploit TFC’s backline, which has allowed the second-most goals in league play (35) so far this season.
“This is just a bigger [game] because we’re coming off of a couple losses,” Pickens said. “We need to go out and get the job done and get three points going into the game against Salt Lake.”
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.