Match Preview: Toronto FC vs Colorado Rapids
TORONTO FC vs COLORADO RAPIDS
BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.
April 12, 2014 (WEEK 6, MLS Game #45)
2 p.m. MT (TSN/RDS2; Altitude)
Toronto FC welcome a Colorado Rapids side that has never known success on the shores of Lake Ontario when the clubs meet Saturday afternoon in an interconference affair at BMO Field. Toronto FC returned to their early-season form last weekend, coming away from the Columbus Crew with a 2-0 victory. The Rapids, who have lost in all six previous visits to Toronto, also rebounded from their first loss of the season with a come-from-behind 2-1 win at Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
REFEREE: David Gantar. AR1 (bench): Philippe Briere; AR2 (opposite): Richard Gamache; 4th: Justin Tasev
MLS Career: 24 games; FC/gm: 25.3; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 9; pens: 1
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (12 meetings): Toronto FC 7 wins, 15 goals … Rapids 4 wins, 12 goals … Ties 1
AT TORONTO (6 meetings): Toronto FC 6 wins, 13 goals … Rapids 0 wins, 6 goals … Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/4: COL 1, TOR 0 (Buddle 86)
- This is the only league meeting between the teams this season.
- The Rapids won the lone meeting between the teams a season ago, a 1-0 victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, their first victory against Toronto FC since 2010 in Commerce City, snapping a four-game winless streak in the series (0-3-1).
- Toronto FC have won all six meetings between the teams lifetime at BMO Field, outscoring Colorado 13-6, including a 2-1 win in the last meeting in Ontario in 2012.
- Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen v COL: P1 W0 L1 D0 … Pablo Mastroeni vs. TOR: first game
Toronto FC returned to their early winning ways, going to Crew Stadium and coming away with a 2-0 victory against the previously undefeated Columbus Crew. TFC sit in a tie atop the Eastern Conference, with 9 points from 4 matches.
- Toronto FC opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Mark Bloom found a streaking Michael Bradley down the right side of the Columbus defense, and he took goalkeeper Steve Clark by surprise on a shot from a tight angle near the endline, putting it through the 'keeper's legs and into the far side netting.
- TFC then put the game out of reach in the 85th minute when substitute forward Issey Nakajima-Farran found space on the counterattack and clipped home a Justin Morrow cross from the center of the box.
- TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made four changes to the team that fell 3-0 to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Nick Hagglund, Jackson, Kyle Bekker and Dwayne De Rosario all came into the team, in place of Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Jeremy Hall and Jermain Defoe.
- TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Julio Cesar - Mark Bloom, Bradley Orr, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow - Jackson, Michael Bradley (Jeremy Hall 73), Kyle Bekker, Alvaro Rey (Andrew Wiedeman 78) - Dwayne De Rosario (Issey Nakajima-Farran 69), Gilberto.
- Michael Bradley scored his first goal of the season, his MLS goal since Oct. 16, 2005, when he scored for the MetroStars against Chivas USA.
- “It was a very professional and hardened performance,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “It’s very hard to win away in this league and to be able to take two road wins in these four games is very pleasing. To perform like this away from home gives us a lot of confidence.”
- With center back Steven Caldwell suspended and Canadian international Doneil Henry out injured, rookie Nick Hagglund made his full professional debut. Hagglund was the club’s first-round selection (No. 10 overall) in the MLS SuperDraft out of Xavier Univ.
- “He showed why we liked the man and we’re high on him,” Nelsen said. “He’s not scared of the occasion at all, he loves it. If he keeps progressing the way he’s progressing he’s going to be a very accomplished center back in this league for years to come.”
- Hagglund played in central defense alongside Bradley Orr, who had started at right back in each of the first three games of the season.
- “It’s very hard to single one individual out because I thought everybody was just brilliant. Nick Hagglund and Bradley Orr at the back looked like they’d been playing together for a long time together and Jackson had one of the best games I’ve seen him play on both sides of the ball,” Nelsen said.
- Kyle Bekker was also given his first start of the season in the center of midfield, after Jonathan Osorio missed the Columbus match through a hamstring injury suffered against Real Salt Lake.
- Issey Nakajima-Farran made his MLS and TFC debut after completing his signing with the club in the days leading to the match and the Canadian international scored his first MLS goal.
- Jermain Defoe also missed the match with a hamstring injury suffered during the Real Salt Lake match, and Michael Bradley and Dwayne De Rosario suffered knocks during the Columbus game that could put their availability in question for the weekend.
- “We’re wrapping them up in cotton wool at the moment, and hopefully we can get 11 out for Saturday. [Jermain] is still progressing really well. ... Michael Bradley had a lot of fatigue injuries from all the travel and the games, the U.S. game and obviously the Saturday game. He’s got a couple little strains. We’re just hoping it’ll settle down and be all right by Saturday,” said Nelsen.
The Colorado Rapids rebounded from their first loss of 2014, getting two late goals for a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. The Rapids are in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 7 points from 4 games.
- Whitecaps FC took the lead on 66 minutes when Darren Mattocks opened his 2014 account, finishing off a breakaway after Kenny Miller sent him in alone with a flicked pass up the center of the park.
- But the match turned around in the 77th minute when referee Ioannis Stavridis showed Vancouver's Matias Laba a second yellow card.
- Just two minutes later, the Rapids leveled the game at 1-1 when José Mari used the outside of his left foot to bend an effort past David Ousted from outside the penalty area.
- Then two minutes later, he fired the Rapids into the lead with a right-footed effort teed up by teammate Nathan Sturgis, again from outside the box, this time straight on from goal.
- Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made six changes to the team that suffered a 3-2 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Clint Irwin came in between the posts in place of John Berner, Thomas Piermayr started for the suspended Marvell Wynne, and Nathan Sturgis, Jose Mari, Kamani Hill and Gabriel Torres all came into the team in place of Jared Watts, Nick LaBrocca, Vicente Sanchez and Edson Buddle
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-1-2): Clint Irwin - Thomas Piermayr, Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Marc Burch - Nathan Sturgis (Jared Watts 90), Jose Mari, Dillon Powers - Kamani Hill (Nick LaBrocca 59) - Deshorn Brown (Charles Eloundou 69), Gabriel Torres.
- The Rapids won for the first time on the road this season, their first road win since last Sept. 7, when they won at the LA Galaxy.
- “We played two of our last four games against Vancouver. We came up here and really struggled and they really stuck it to us. I think this is a really difficult play to play and I think Vancouver plays really well here. The fact that we can take three points from here is going to be huge for our season,” said goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
- Said defender Drew Moor: “You’ve got to be able to go on the road and get results. You have to play on the road in the playoffs. You can’t expect to get all your points at home. We feel like home is very good place for us …it’s a tough place to play and Vancouver is a very good team. It’s early in the season for sure but anytime you can go on the road against your conference opponent and get a victory it’s a good sign.”
- José Mari scored his first two goals in MLS – both from well outside the penalty area – to lead the Rapids to the win in Vancouver.
- “The truth is those are the two best goals that I’ve ever scored, but it’s also true, I understand the importance that they have. These are three very important points for us and we have to keep growing,” said José Mari.
- Said Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni: “It was probably his first shot [this season. He’s your all-around, complete No. 6. We’re delighted to have him around, and more importantly it’s the aura he gives others on the team. His comfort on the ball allows others to be comfortable on the ball: always an outlet, always looking for the big pass, short pass.”
- The goals were the first scored by the Rapids this season that did not come as a result of penalty kicks. The Rapids were 4-for-5 from the spot in their first three games, with a further goal scored from a rebound following a saved penalty.
- Clint Irwin made his first start in goal for the Rapids, after John Berner had started each of the first three. Irwin was unavailable through a quadriceps injury for the opening two games of the season. Irwin was credited with seven saves in the win vs. Vancouver.
- “I think Clint had a few huge saves in that game, but more importantly I think he brings a lot of confidence to that back line. His presence, his ability to communicate, his distribution today was excellent as well,” Mastroeni said. “Just a class goalkeeper, and another pillar that we’re looking to build on. I think tonight he showed his worth and really deserves everything that the game gave him for his performance and keeping us in the game at the right times.”
- Along with Irwin, Thomas Piermayr – whose transfer was completed just days before the game – made his Rapids and MLS debut at right back. Kamani Hill and Nathan Sturgis were also given their first starts of the season.
- “I think everybody talked about how young we were last year, I think we’re just as young, if not even younger this year,” Moor said. “Pablo has got confidence in everybody, and we all have confidence in each other. To be able to make changes like that on the road and to get three points is a good sign at this point in the season.”