Colorado Rapids

Know Your Opponent | Deportivo Toluca F.C.


The Colorado Rapids face Liga MX side Deportivo Toluca F.C. this Monday looking to secure a spot in the Round of 32 in the inaugural edition of Leagues Cup. The two teams, alongside Nashville SC, comprise the Central 4 group. Monday’s match will be the final group stage match of Central 4 and will determine who advances to the competition’s knockout stage.

Who are they?

The Rapids’ opponent, Deportivo Toluca F.C., is a historic club that was founded 106 years ago in 1917 but didn’t become a professional team until 1950. Based in Toluca de Lerdo in the State of Mexico, the team began its professional run in the country’s Segunda División before quickly earning promotion up to the top flight by the 1952-53 season. The club is one of three Liga MX teams to have never been relegated after their debut in the country’s first division. Toluca has won the Liga MX championship 10 times in its history, the third-most league titles behind Club América and C.D. Guadalajara. The club’s most recent title came in the same year that the Rapids won their first MLS Cup, in 2010. Toluca has also two Concacaf Champions Cup (formerly the Concacaf Champions League) titles and finished as runners-up on three occasions. 

What is their form?

Toluca is currently three games into Liga MX’s 2023 Apertura season and sit ninth with a 1-1-1 record prior to Leagues Cup kicking off. The club made a run to the finals of Liga MX’s Liguilla Apertura earlier in the year, one of the league’s two annual playoff stages (Liga MX features two tournaments per season, the Apertura and Clausura), losing 8-2 on aggregate in the championship bouts. Prior to that, the club boasted the third-highest scoring offense in the 2022-23 Liga MX Clausura season, placing top four in the league before losing in the quarterfinals 5-4 on aggregate. That offense was on display on Thursday night in their Leagues Cup group stage match against Nashville SC as they came away with a 4-3 win heading into Monday’s match in Colorado.

Who are their players to watch?

Toluca forward Jean Meneses, 30, led the team with seven goals in the 2022 Liga MX Apertura tournament. He was tied for second-highest on the team with three assists and is a key player in the team’s attack. Toluca is without playmaker Leonardo Fernández after the midfielder left the team on a year-long loan to Fluminense FC in July 2023. The attacking midfielder led the team with seven assists in the 2022 Liga MX Apertura campaign and added 17 goals since joining the club in 2022. Winger Maximiliano Araújo joined the team on Jan. 2023 and made an immediate impact, helping spark the club’s potent 2022-23 Liga MX Clausura attack by recording six goals and four assists. Araújo and González comprised the team’s top two scorers in the tournament. Midfielder Marcel Ruíz also showed his attacking prowess, scoring a brace in Toluca’s 4-3 win over Nashville on Thursday. 

Is there history between the two clubs?

Despite having never played against one another, Monday’s match will see familiar faces for both clubs. After managing León from 2018-2020, Toluca head coach Ignacio Ambriz will face off against one of his former players in two-time Liga MX champion William Yarbrough. Toluca winger Jean Meneses, defenders Andrés Mosquera, Fernando Navarro and Mauricio Isaís all played with Yarbrough during his time with León. Before getting acquired by the Rapids, Yarbrough won the Liga MX Apertura tournament with León in 2013, breaking a 20-year first division title drought for the Mexican club. The following season, Yarbrough helped the club to a Clausura title as well. Against Toluca, Yarbrough will face his first Liga MX club in a non-friendly match since joining Colorado.

Rapids forward Diego Rubio and Toluca defender Valber Huerta both started for the Chile U-20 National Team in a 2012 friendly. For the Chilean senior team, Meneses and midfielder Claudio Baeza played alongside Rubio in a national team friendly in 2019.  Baeza and Rubio later appeared in four other international friendlies together for Chile in the same season.

Additionally, Rapids defender Andrew Gutman faced Toluca earlier this season. In a preseason friendly, Gutman started and played the first 45 minutes of Atlanta United FC’s match against the Liga MX side. He was subbed off in the second half but helped the club build an early 2-0 advantage in the first half before the Mexican side found an answer.