Preview: Colorado vs Toronto, May 4

A pair of clubs looking for a key league victory to jumpstart their season meet on Saturday

COLORADO RAPIDS vs TORONTO FC
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
May 4, 2013 (WEEK 10, MLS Game #84)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude;
ENG - 1510 AM / 93.7 FM and SPA - 1150 AM)

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A pair of clubs looking for a key league victory to jumpstart their season meet on Saturday evening when the Colorado Rapids play host to Toronto FC at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are coming off a 1-1 draw at Houston last weekend, with just two victories on the season. Toronto FC had a run of consecutive draws put to an end in a 2-1 home loss to New York last week, then saw their run of Canadian Championship titles ended at midweek in Montréal.

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REFEREE: Matthew Foerster. AR1 (bench): Fabio Tovar; AR2 (opposite): Mark Cahen; 4th: Edvin Jurisevic
MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 24.2; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 0; pens: 3

DISABLED LIST: COL: Diego Calderón
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Hendry Thomas
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (11 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 11 goals … Toronto FC 7 wins, 15 goals … Ties 1
AT COLORADO (6 meetings): Rapids 3 wins, 5 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 2 goals … Ties 1

LAST YEAR (MLS):
7/18: TOR 2, COL 1 (Johnson 51; Wiedeman 67 -- Casey 23)

  • This is the only league meeting of the season between the two clubs.
  • Toronto FC have a four-game undefeated streak alive vs. Colorado, having not lost in the series since April 18, 2010.
  • All three Rapids victories against TFC have come at home; Colorado is 0-6-0 lifetime at BMO Field.
  • The visiting team has won just once all-time in the series, a 1-0 TFC victory Aug. 9, 2008 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. COL: first game … Oscar Pareja v TOR: P1 W0 L1 T0

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids went onto the road and came away with a point, drawing 1-1 with the Houston Dynamo on Sunday afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Rapids are in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with 9 points from 9 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids took a well-deserved lead just before halftime. Center back Drew Moor smartly lost Rico Clark on a corner kick and, free at the back post, headed home a Dillon Powers service for the opener.
  • But the Dynamo hit for the leveler in in the 66th minute. Corralling a loose clearance from a long goal kick, Giles Barnes took two touches and hit a rocket of a shot on a thin angle from just inside the area, beating Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin just under the bar to his left.
  • The Dynamo finished the game with 10 men after Brad Davis was shown a straight red card in stoppage time by referee Juan Guzman for a tackle on Nathan Sturgis.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Seattle Sounders FC at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Shane O'Neill started in the back for Marvell Wynne, and Jamie Smith and Kamani Hill came into the side in place of Nick LaBrocca and Tony Cascio.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-1-3-2): Clint Irwin - Brian Mullan, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Hendry Thomas (Nathan Sturgis 52) - Jamie Smith (Pablo Mastroeni 83), Dillon Powers, Danny Mwanga - Atiba Harris, Kamani Hill (Martin Rivero 68).

TEAM NEWS

  • While the Rapids went a second game without a victory following back-to-back wins, they were able to get a second consecutive result on the road, after winning at Chivas USA on April 13.
  • “We could’ve gotten three points,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said postgame. “With the amount of chances that we had and the quality of the game, for sure we deserved three points.”
  • Rapids defender Drew Moor kept his streak alive, having now scored in eight consecutive seasons following his goal in the 1-1 draw Sunday at Houston. Moor failed to score a goal only in his rookie season of 2005.
  • Some of the Rapids injury crisis showed signs of abating. Martín Rivero was able to make his 2013 season debut, coming on for the final quarter of the match.
  • “Last Saturday I had 20 minutes in a reserve game, and I felt good," Rivero said. "And today I had a little more than 20, but it’s totally different in a game like this, with a team like Houston, on their field, in this difficult climate. I felt good, and really happy for the team, which played a good game. Happy to get a point, as well.”
  • Pablo Mastroeni made his first appearance since being forced off injured after just 27 minutes in the March 23 vs. LA, coming on for the final seven minutes in Houston.
  • “It is exciting to have the boys back,” Pareja said. “ … That’s a good problem to have. When you have in the team quality you have competition.”
  • Jamie Smith made his first start of 2013, after five substitute appearances, the last three in consecutive matches.
  • However, there was yet another injury concern coming out of the match after Hendry Thomas was forced to leave the game in the 52nd minute with an hamstring injury.

 

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC saw their unbeaten streak end after four draws, the New York Red Bulls netting a late winner for a 2-1 victory Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC sit in a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 7 points from 8 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 38th minute. After slipping down the left side of the box, Roy Miller skipped a cross into the box from the left flank that Thierry Henry dummied perfectly, leaving Tim Cahill with an easy left-footed finish past TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
  • But Toronto FC leveled the score in the 83rd minute. After Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles came well off his line to deal with a free kick, Jonathan Osorio picked up the loose clearance and delivered a composed finish from outside the penalty area.
  • Yet the Red Bulls once again made TFC pay late. After a missed clearance from defender Ashtone Morgan, Henry skipped down the left side and drifted a cross to the far post, where Cahill was waiting with a leaping header to punctuate his first multi-goal game since coming to MLS last summer.
  • TFC boss Ryan Nelsen made one change to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo at BMO Field. Ashtone Morgan came back from suspension in place of Logan Emory.
  • TORONTO FC (4-1-3-2): Joseph Bendik - Ryan Richter, Darren O'Dea, Gale Agbossoumonde, Ashtone Morgan - Jeremy Hall - Reggie Lambe, Luis Silva, Hogan Ephraim (John Bostock 46) - Robert Earnshaw, Justin Braun (Andrew Wiedeman 12 / Jonathan Osorio 79).

TEAM NEWS

  • For a third consecutive game, Toronto FC saw the deciding goal scored in the 89th minute or later, the New York Red Bulls claiming a late 2-1 win Saturday at BMO Field. Philadelphia and Houston had scored late equalizers in each of the previous two weeks.
  • “This is seven points that we have thrown away now,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “Seven points which would have put us at 14 and in a really nice spot. These guys have to want to be good. They have to want responsibility. Winning is hard and it takes responsibility. Guys have to understand that they have to take it.”
  • Toronto FC are now winless in their last four home games, since a 2-1 win against Sporting KC in their BMO Field bow on March 9. The loss to New York was their first at home this season. TFC ended the 2012 campaign winless in their final seven home games.
  • “Taking away the result the performance wasn’t good enough. Teams have deserved nothing coming into here; Houston didn’t deserve anything, LA didn’t deserve anything so it’s not about deserving, but take away the score line, the performance wasn’t good,” said Nelsen.
  • Toronto FC have allowed five goals from the 76th minute onward, third-most in MLS, behind FC Dallas and New York (6 each). They have three goals in stoppage time to lead the league.
  • “Every successful team in the world has one or two defenders that the ball seems to go to like a magnet to their heads because they want it so much. We don’t seem to have that personality and character to go and put out the fire, clear it into the stands or smash it miles away,” Nelsen said. “Every successful team in the world has that. Good teams take responsibility. They don’t talk about it, but actually do it through actions.”
  • Justin Braun made a third consecutive start in attack, but lasted just 12 minutes before having to come off. His replacement, Andrew Wiedeman, also had to come off late in the second half.
  • “Braun has been really great for us and provides a lot of energy and when he went off I think Wiedeman was a bit fatigued from Wednesday’s game and he couldn’t really influence as we’d normally like,” said Nelsen. “But then again he put in a big shift Wednesday night that kind of hurt us a bit. No excuses, there are nine other guys that started the game that looked like they had played on Wednesday as well.”
  • In addition, Hogan Ephraim had to come off at halftime break. “They are all knocks. That’s the unfortunate thing about it. They all came in things like collisions. That is also a good sign, because they will all get cleared up pretty quickly,” said Nelsen.
  • On Wednesday, Toronto FC saw their bid for a fifth consecutive Canadian Championship come to an end, as the Montréal Impact overcame a first-leg deficit with a 6-0 victory at Stade Saputo, advancing to the final 6-2 on aggregate. Justin Mapp, Daniele Paponi, Marco Di Vaio (twice), Andrés Romero and Andrew Wenger all scored as the Impact equaled the record number of goals scored in an ACC game (Montreal 1-6 Toronto, June 18, 2009).
  • “We started pretty well. If Earnshaw’s [shot off the post] had gone in, if we had put that goal away, I think the tie would have been ended,” Nelsen said. “But after that we lost every key play that had to be made and Montreal punished us. On every mistake we made we got punished. When the key plays needed to be made, Montreal made all of them and we were second best.”
  • Here’s the TFC team: Stefan Frei; Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry, Danny Califf, Ryan Richter; Jonathan Osorio (Ashton Bennett 74'), Kyle Bekker (Jeremy Hall 46'), John Bostock, Reggie Lambe; Robert Earnshaw, Andrew Wiedeman (Luis Silva 46')