Toronto FC (5W-4D-4L, 19 pts, 3rd in the East) vs. Colorado Rapids (6W-4D-3L, 22 pts, 3rd in the West) - Saturday, 12 p.m. at BMO Field.
Toronto lead the all-time series with 4 wins, 3 losses, and 0 draws.
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What’s at Stake?
Toronto are riding a seven-game undefeated streak, punctuated by the fact that they haven’t lost a match at home this season. Their recent good form comes courtesy of a stingy defense that has given up only 15 goals this season, second-fewest in the Eastern Conference. Led by goalkeeper Stefan Frei and the center back pairing of veteran Adrian Cann and young Nana Attakora, the defense has conceded only two goals in their last nine matches in all competitions. They are having trouble scoring, though, with only one goal in their last four; perhaps the addition of Mista next week will help.
Colorado are on a streak of their own, having not lost in six matches. But in the ultracompetitive West, the Rapids need a win to avoid being overtaken by fourth-place Dallas and to keep pace with the two sides ahead of them in the standings, LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake. Good performances from striker Conor Casey and creative midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy have keyed the recent run, which includes three wins and three draws; however, the defense has conceded 5 goals in their last three games.
The Rapids got the better of the Reds in a 3-1 win over Toronto at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on April 18th. In a match that featured three penalty kicks, Casey scored twice from the penalty spot in the 24th and 85th minutes for Colorado while Toronto’s Dwayne De Rosario converted his 12-yard gimme in the 58th minute. Jeff Larentowicz scored what proved to be the game-winner in the 70th minute, after striking a freekick past the Reds’ poorly organized wall.
Heroes & Villains
Marvell Wynne vs. Nick LaBrocca. Both played three years for the other side until an off-season deal sent Wynne to the Rocky Mountains and LaBrocca to the banks of the Ontario River. On Saturday it will be up to the crafty left-sided midfielder LaBrocca to gauge how far up the right side the rugged-tackling US international wingback wanders and the precise moment to spring the Toronto counterattack.
Dan Gargan vs. Conor Casey. Two other combatants in Saturday’s game also applied their trade with the opposition. Toronto defender Gargan, who scored his team’s 84th-minute equalizer last Thursday against Houston, started his career in Colorado and spent four seasons with the Rapids, making 49 appearances. Now the former Coloradoan and his Toronto defense to put a cork on Casey, who leads his team with six goals. Casey played just two games with Toronto in April 2007 before a trade sent him to his hometown club in April of that year.
Stat that makes you go “Hm…”
Ever since Casey left TFC, he has become a one-man wrecking crew against them, scoring in each of the last three meetings between the two clubs dating back to September 5, 2009. Casey has potted four career goals against the Reds.
He Said It
“When we are at home, that’s not a point gained; it’s two points lost. We were obviously very dominant and hopefully we can keep that going and maybe next week [against Toronto] make it into a win somehow.” — Defender Scott Palguta on Colorado’s frustration after last week’s draw with New York