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Toronto FC vs. Colorado Rapids: Match preview and predicted starting XI

The Reds return home to try and extend their eight-game unbeaten streak

Toronto FC’s Alejandro Pozuelo celebrates with the rest of his team after scoring a goal.
(Tagwa Moyo/Shuttersworth)

TORONTO—Fresh off a successful three-game road trip, Toronto FC will look to extend their eight-game unbeaten run Sunday afternoon when they return home to BMO Field on Canadian Armed Forces Night to take on the soaring Colorado Rapids.

Currently sitting in fourth place in the East, the Reds haven’t lost in their last six MLS matches, but a familiar face at the helm of a revamped Colorado-side is looking to change that in front of almost 400 members of the military and their families in attendance.

Robin Fraser spent the better portion of five seasons with Toronto as an assistant under Greg Vanney before taking over as head coach of the Rapids, where he’s led a then-seven win team to a perfect 3-0-0 record since his appointment.

With wins over the New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s L.A. Galaxy (in a very controversial manner), it appears early on that the $75,000 USD in general allocation money Colorado reportedly sent Toronto in exchange for the release of Fraser was a worthwhile investment.

Fraser won’t be the only member of the Rapids well acquainted to BMO Field, as former TFC goalkeeper Clint Irwin — part of the treble-winning 2017 team – is also expected to start in net for a desperate Colorado side needing a win. Thanks to a disastrous start to the 2019 season, a loss combined with other results could eliminate the 10th-place Rapids from playoff contention.

Toronto, meanwhile, has also been trending in the right direction recently despite having to deal with a few International call-ups and injuries.

A 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium against Eastern Conference leaders New York City FC — a game that Toronto probably should’ve won — saw the Reds extend their unbeaten run to eight straight matches, a feat that’s only been matched two other times in the club’s history.

With relative newcomers Nicolas Benezet and Erickson Gallardo establishing themselves in the squad, and the imminent return of Jonathan Osorio, Richie Laryea and perhaps Justin Morrow on Sunday after all took part in training on Friday, the Reds will look to finish strong in their final four MLS games — capped off by a two-legged Canadian Championship Final, which kicks off on Wednesday in Montreal.

But first, TFC needs to take care of the business at hand, at BMO Field Sunday afternoon, where Toronto can’t take Fraser’s deceivingly-dangerous Colorado team lightly.

It helps to know heading into this one that the Reds hold a 7-1-1 lifetime record at home over the Rapids, with Colorado’s lone win against Toronto coming in 2014.

Predicted Starting XI

With Gallardo and DeLeon picking up minor knocks over the past week, look for Vanney to get Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, and Jonathan Osorio all into the lineup. Thus, we’d see Pozuelo on the wing — where he often likes to find space — flanked by Laryrea, who’s in-form and confident after his first two International caps with Canada.

Look for Justin Morrow to also get back into the squad after the left-back missed the team’s last three MLS games.

WTR’s Predicted Starting XI vs. Colorado Rapids Sept. 15
(Jeffrey P. Nesker/Waking the Red)

How to Watch

Kickoff 5 p.m. ET
Radio TSN 1050

As always, you can follow the action live on our game thread closer to kickoff as we’ll be covering the match from BMO Field tonight.