The Headliner: Playing Favourites
Toronto FC have arguably been the underdog in all three of their games so far this season. With a 1-1-1 record, and their only loss a narrow 1-0 affair to league leading Sporting KC, they have overachieved.
Tonight, however, may be the first time that Toronto can be considered favourites. They will play a Colorado Rapids team who are second last in the Western Conference, albeit on the same number of points as Toronto.
It will be interesting to see if Toronto play any differently tonight against weaker opposition. So far their strategy has been largely defense first, with players like Michael Bradley dropping back very deep in the midfield.
Toronto will have some inside knowledge of the opposition tonight. Clint Irwin was the Rapids keeper last year, while Drew Moor marshalled the backline in front of him. Both will start for Toronto tonight against the Rapids.
The recent international break may play a factor for Toronto FC as well. Both Will Johnson and Michael Bradley played 120 minutes for Canada and the United States respectively. While both are known for their stamina, it will be difficult for them to play the full 90.
Jozy Altidore had perhaps the most successful international break, scoring yet another goal for the United States against Guatemala. However, it does not appear that he is fully recovered from injury and he will start on the bench tonight for Toronto.
Key to the Match: Managing the Midfield
Toronto FC have been defending and scoring well so far this MLS season, but their transition play has not been overtly good. Playing with a three man midfield Toronto have failed to string together passes or keep possession.
The club are going with three veterans tonight in the midfield: Bradley, Johnson and Benoit Cheyrou in the hopes that they can improve the club's play. However, with Johnson and Bradley coming off the international break it will be interesting to see how long they play, and how well.
Toronto will have options of the bench, however, as Jonathan Osorio appears to be healthy again. He may see significant minutes in this game if Bradley or Johnson need a break.
Toronto FC: Irwin, Beitashour, Moor, Perquis, Morrow, Cheyrou, Bradley, Johnson, Lovitz, Babouli, Giovinco
Subs: Roberts, Williams, Morgan, Delgado, Osorio, Altidore, Endoh
Colorado Rapids: MacMath, Burch, Sjoberg, Burling, Miller, Azira, Cronin, Powers, Pappa, Gashi, Solignac
Location: Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Kick-off time: 8:00 PM Eastern
SB Nation OPPOSITION Blog: Burgundy Wave
Available streaming: TSN Go, MLS Live
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