ExLink - 04/14/18 - COLvTOR

Colorado Rapids vs. Toronto FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Colorado Rapids vs. Toronto FC
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 7
Dick's Sporting Goods Park - Commerce City
3 pm ET – April 14, 2018
WATCH: CTV, TSN 1/4, ESPN+

Toronto FC is flying high after becoming just the third team in MLS history to reach the Concacaf Champions League final following a historic semifinal victory over Club America from Liga MX.

TFC’s depth is one reason why this group is considered arguably the best in MLS history. It will be put to the test against a Colorado Rapids team unbeaten in their last three, looking more comfortable and confident under first-year coach Anthony Hudson than the group that lost to Toronto in the CCL Round of 16.

Colorado Rapids  

The positive for Colorado (1-1-2) is the team is becoming tough to beat, home or away. But oh those dropped points. The Rapids have conceded late three times this year, including in a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas last Saturday, costing them five points.

Afterward, Hudson’s focus was on the effort of his team that also had its depth tested with several starters out due to injury in Frisco.

“We’re missing many players tonight through injury, we’ve had players who haven’t played yet stepping in for the first time,” Hudson said. “We’ve changed slightly our tactical approach, which the players have put in a great performance to implement that. We’re still building, but it’s a huge point.”

The Rapids appear to be getting healthier with forward Shkëlzen Gashi returning to training this week, and he’s available for selection against TFC.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Kortne Ford (left MCL sprain), D - Marlon Hairston (right knee surgery); QUESTIONABLE: D - Danny Wilson (undisclosed), F - Shkelzen Gashi (calf), D - Eric Miller (calf), M - Enzo Martinez (undisclosed)

Projected Starting XI
(3-5-2, right to left)
GK: Tm Howard — Deklan Wynne, Axel Sjoberg, Tommy Smith — Kip Colvey, Johan Blomberg, Jack Price, Bismark Boateng, Edgar Castillo — Joe Mason, Dominique Badji

  • Notes: Édgar Castillo is one of two MLS players this season to have had a game with seven tackles and seven interceptions. No player accomplished this last season. … The Rapids are unbeaten in their last six home games (3W-3D), averaging 1.7 goals per match. Their three goals scored in their most recent home win are tied for the most in a league match over the last three seasons.

Toronto FC      

Toronto FC (1-2-0) not only survived, but they passed the ultimate CCL test — earning a 1-1 draw with Club America at Estadio Azteca to advance to the final 4-2 on aggregate.

Jonathan Osorio scored the critical early away goal for TFC, who saw Jozy Altidore leave the match due to injury in the opening moments. It’s another short turnaround for Toronto, which hosts Chivas de Guadalajara in the first leg Tuesday at BMO Field. Vanney will use a heavily rotate his lineup to keep players fresh for another showdown with a Liga MX opponent.

“Anyone who is healthy and hasn’t been playing a ton will find their way onto the field,” Vanney said after the match. “I don’t know what my lineup will be. I don’t know what my shape will be.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D - Nick Hagglund (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: D - Justin Morrow (calf strain), F - Jozy Altidore (foot); PROBABLE: D - Chris Mavinga (abdominal discomfort), M - Victor Vazquez (back spasms)

Projected Starting XI
(4-4-2, right to left)
GK: Clint Irwin — Nicolas Hasler, Eriq Zavaleta, Drew Moor, Ashton Morgan — Ager Aketxe, Michael Bradley, Liam Fraser, Jay Chapman — Jordan Hamilton, Tosaint Ricketts.

  • Notes: Gregory Van der Wiel has a passing accuracy of 87.3% this season, the fourth-best rate among defenders with at least of 150 passes this season. … The Reds are winless in their last three road games (2L-1D) after going unbeaten in their prior six games (4W-2D).

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Colorado Rapids 6 wins, 16 goals … Toronto FC 8 wins, 19 goals … Ties 2
  • At Colorado: Rapids 5 wins, 7 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 1
  • Last meeting at Colorado: Rapids 1, Toronto FC 0 (April 2, 2016)

Referees

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Assistant Referees: Adam Garner, Felisha Mariscal
4th Official: Ramy Touchan
VAR: Ricardo Salazar