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The Colorado Rapids have been a bad, bad team on the road this year.
Their high point on their travels came on May 20 in Philadelphia. In the 15th minute of that match against the Union, Caleb Calvert gave the Rapids the lead with what is still the only goal from open play they have scored outside of Colorado in MLS in 2017.
They held that lead until the 67th minute, when everything came crashing down rather spectacularly. First, Kortne Ford conceded a penalty by diving on top of the ball, arms first. The spot kick was scored, and a couple of minutes later Calvert received a second yellow card for re-entering the field of play without the referee’s permission.
From there, Haris Medunjanin’s winner felt somewhat inevitable.
Colorado have managed to win six home games, which has kind-of-but-probably-not kept them in the hunt for a playoff spot in a Western Conference that really does not look like producing more than a couple of MLS Cup contenders.
Their biggest issue away from home has been a lack of goalscoring, which bodes well for Toronto FC tonight. For the first time in a while, the Reds have all of their centre-backs fit and available and will be expecting to keep a clean sheet. The other Colorado away goal was a last-minute Kevin Doyle consolation penalty at Sporting Kansas City, and their 14 shots on target on the road is a truly woeful tally.
That just leaves Toronto needing to score a goal or two at the other end, which could be complicated by Sebastian Giovinco’s back injury and the uncertainty over whether or not Tosaint Ricketts will be ready to come in and start in the Italian’s absence having not returned in time from Gold Cup duty to train.
This game will be a big opportunity for Jordan Hamilton, who made an impact off the bench against New York City FC in midweek, as a result. It would also seem to be as good a time as any to hand Nicolas Hasler his MLS debut.
If Giovinco is well enough to play any part, Greg Vanney may be tempted to put him in the lineup in the hope Toronto can establish a first-half lead that the Rapids, their attacking output on the road again noted, would be unlikely to erase.
This is the first of five weekend games in a row, and the MLS schedule becomes much more straightforward once the Gold Cup is over. Three of those five games are at BMO Field and another is away to last-place D.C. United, so the run coming up is a good opportunity to put a decent haul of points on the board in the Supporters’ Shield race.
Kick-off: 7pm ET
Venue: BMO Field, Toronto
TV channel & live stream
TV: TSN 1 & 4 (Canada), Altitude (Colorado)
Stream: TSN Go (Canada), MLS Live (out of market)
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto), Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 (Colorado)
Toronto are without Gold Cup absentees Justin Morrow, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. Armando Cooper is unlikely to be involved after playing for Panama on Wednesday, but Jonathan Osorio and Tosaint Ricketts should be fresher.
On the injury front, Sebastian Giovinco is considered questionable due to a back problem and Steven Beitashour remains sidelined but Ashtone Morgan’s cut to the head is unlikely to keep him out.
Colorado will be missing Bobby Burling to injury, Tim Howard to international duty, and Mekeil Williams to suspension, while Shkelzen Gashi is questionable with a calf problem.
Toronto: Irwin; Zavaleta, Hagglund, Mavinga; Endoh, Delgado, Cheyrou, Vazquez, Edwards; Giovinco, Chapman.
Subs: Bono, Moor, Morgan, Cooper, Hamilton, Alseth, Ricketts.
Colorado: MacMath; Miller, Ford, Sjoberg, Da Fonte; Hairston, Azira, Saeid, Serna; Badji, Doyle.
Subs: Powers, Berner, Gordon, Boateng, Castillo, Calvert, Watts.