Expect to see plenty of reserves and role players on the pitch for Toronto FC when they travel to Colorado for an MLS match against the Rapids on Saturday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
Toronto heads to the suburbs of the Mile High City on the heels of a CONCACAF Champions League semifinal win over Club America from Liga MX, which wrapped up on Tuesday in Mexico City.
With the 4-2 aggregate victory, Toronto (1-2-0 in MLS play) is just the third MLS team in history to reach the CCL finals, but the two-game series took its toll on the Reds.
Injuries to key pieces like Justin Morrow, Victor Vazquez, Chris Mavinga and Jozy Altidore, coupled with the grind of a crowded schedule, travel across time zones and in and out of altitude will result in a call for healthy bodies to make things happen for the Reds against Colorado.
And then there’s the pending CCL final aggregate against Chivas de Guadalajara that begins Tuesday in Toronto.
“As we approach the weekend, we will do our best to rest who we need to rest,” Toronto coach Greg Vanney said. “We will play who we think is in the right physical frame and mental frame to get out and play. A lot of guys will get opportunities this weekend.
“Anyone who is healthy and hasn’t been playing a ton will find their way onto the field,” Vanney added. “I don’t know what my lineup will be. I don’t know what my shape will be.”
While the Rapids might be catching Toronto at the right time, Colorado’s recent improvement has been one of the best stories of the young MLS season. Colorado (1-1-2) heads home after a 1-1 draw at FC Dallas last Saturday in a match new coach Anthony Hudson was disappointed his side didn’t win.
Colorado lost to Toronto in the CCL’s Round of 16, but Hudson said his squad has improved in recent weeks.
“It’s a game we can’t wait to play because we are getting filled with more confidence,” Hudson said. “We don’t fear anyone now and our total focus is just going out and doing just that, playing with no fear and backing ourselves.
“We can’t wait for Toronto to come into town — we can’t wait to test ourselves against them. We’re looking forward to it.”
The Rapids are unbeaten in their last six home matches (3-0-3), averaging 1.7 goals per outing. Toronto, meanwhile, is winless in its last three road games (0-2-1) after going unbeaten in its prior six matches (4-0-2).
Toronto holds an 8-6-2 all-time mark against Colorado in MLS play, but is just 1-5-1 in matches played in the Mile High City.
—Field Level Media