Colorado Rapids

Fieldside Chat | Midweek check-in with Cole Bassett and Danny Leyva 


Ahead of the Rapids' second Leagues Cup group-stage game and first time facing Deportivo Toluca FC, we spoke with midfielders Cole Bassett and Danny Leyva on Wednesday about their takeaways from the contest with Nashville SC to start the tournament, their experience against Liga MX opponents and the pros and cons of taking on a new opponent at home.

What were your biggest takeaways from the Nashville game and how do they influence your approach to Toluca?

CB: I want to add more goal contributions to my game. It's kind of annoyed me a little bit. I don't need too many chances in the game to put one away. I wish that free kick would have been indicative of that, just showing I really needed just one chance to kind of finish it off, and it would have been nice to have that go in. But at the same time, I think I did create a couple chances that could be put away, but at the same time, when I get my chances, I have to put them away because I know they're not too easy. But for me, being one of the more attacking midfielders, I just need to continue to get our players in good positions with the ball.

The Rapids have never faced Toluca, and Toluca has never played 90 minutes in DICK'S Sporting Goods Park. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of playing a team for the first time, especially when you're in your home environment?

CB: I think at home versus an opponent that's not used to coming here, I think we should be able to keep possession, and that should be our goal going in. But then it's all about that ruthlessness and just patience in front of goal. I think sometimes we're rushing our chances a little bit. We're too eager to try to create something. You need to have that ruthlessness and desire to just go and take your chance, but at the same time, we got guys in good areas [against Nashville], and I think we need to be a little bit more calm in front of goal.

DL: I think some of the points of concern or some of the things that we have to do is figure out how the other team plays. Obviously, they play in a different league and we don't play them very often, so it's a new challenge. We start to play sometimes with new players that we don't really face up against, so we have to be ready to face that and do video and be tactically ready but also mentally because it's gonna be a fight. It's going to be a battle out there because every team wants to come here and win, and we have to be ready for that.


What does the shift in mentality look like preparing for an MLS team compared to a Liga MX one?

DL: In the academy, when I was younger and playing with the U-17s, we played a couple of teams, Chivas and Club America, and in the Concacaf Champions League last year, we played León and Pumas as well. The Mexican teams are really high level, [have] really high quality players, and they always want to come here and show that they have level to play and are the better team, so we have to be ready to face a team that's hungry and that's here to win, and we have to be ready to play a different style of play and be ready for their style of play as well.

What are you expecting to see from the Nashville SC and Toluca game on Thursday night, and what do you think the team can take from that game to prep for Toluca on Monday?

CB: I'm just curious to see what kind of team they are in general. I haven't watched too much of them besides a couple clips. But I think what I normally look for is just where the spaces will be, with every team that changes. So for a midfielder that wants to get on the ball a lot there's different areas that I think you can find or access against different teams so I'll be looking to see where they kind of set up defensively and where I can get into good positions to try to expose them. So that's what I'll be looking for. I'm sure everybody on the team has something different, but at the same time we're just kind of watching to see which players catch our eye and which guys we need to keep our eye on when they're out here on the field.

DL: I think we just have to watch their game [against Nashville], see how it plays out, see what Toluca is good at--their tendencies, some of the tactics as well so that we can prepare for our game against them, and I think also just be aware of some of their key players so that we can better manage them when it comes to playing against them.