CONCACAF Champions League | Colorado Rapids vs Toronto FC | Three Takeaways | February 20, 2018

The home side was on the front foot in the first half.

A lineup that featured six new faces looked sharp, decisive and dangerous early in the match. The back three (along with Tim Howard) consisting of sophomore Kortne Ford and newcomers Tommy Smith and Deklan Wynne were tested a few times but for the most part it was Enzo Martinez, Jack Price and Nana Boateng that dominated the midfield and pace of play. In the 27th minute a beautiful through ball from Jack McBean to his strike partner Dominique Badji provided the best chance of the half for either side and if Badji beats Alex Bono, the home side surely leads at the break and we're probably talking about a completely different match.

 


 

This is a work in progress.

There were positive moments and bright spots. And yes, the home side lost some steam in the second half. But Edgar Castillo looked like the seasoned pro who will be one of the steadiest left-sided defenders in MLS this season. As mentioned above, Jack Price and Ezno Martinez look like they'll fit in just fine. Enzo likely as a change-of-pace option of the bench and Price as a rock-solid number six breaking up attacks and jumpstarting his own. Kortne Ford seemed right at home battling with Jozy Altidore and here's betting that Tommy Smith may be the most overlooked signings of the offseason in Commerce City. With a fit Shkëlzen Gashi, the potential of Joe Mason and some more time together on the training pitch, this group may surprise a few people early in this MLS season.

 


 

We’re on track for full fitness come March 10.

This match featured a team in the middle of a complete overhaul facing a team that's been battle-tested day in and day out for three years. For the Rapids, cohesiveness will surely come; but it takes time. Head coach Anthony Hudson has stated on numerous occasions that what his team is ultimately working toward is being in top form come March 10 when the Rapids officially kick off their 2018 MLS season opener against New England. In Tuesday night's post-match press conference, Hudson stated that he left his starters in the match against Toronto in hopes of gaining a bit of extra fitness. I imagine we'll see Stefan Aigner and Johan Blomberg feature in the return leg next Tuesday with the gaffer getting his final look at his best options are ahead of the MLS campaign.

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