Pre-Game: @ Toronto FC

by Brendan Wyatt

It’s time for the Rapids to get back into the grind as they face Toronto FC on the road tonight.  After an 18 day break the burgundy boys look to flip the script and bag their first road points of the season.  TFC is no joke this season at home posting a 7-0-2 record.  If the Rapids have any chance at a win, it would be in their best interest to be leading at halftime because TFC is 1-3-1 when trailing at the break.

Toronto will have some notable absences as they have seven men out due to the Gold Cup.  Michael Bradley, Jozey Altidore, and Justin Morrow are all sporting the red white and blue today.  The other guys missing are Armando Cooper (PAN), Raheem Edwards (CAN), Jonathan Osorio (CAN), and Tosaint Ricketts (CAN).  Meanwhile, the Rapids will be without Tim Howard which should give the start to Zac MacMath.

Sebastian Giovinco took a knock in TFC’s last game and is listed as questionable for this match and head coach Greg Vanney will have to watch this one from the press box as he is suspended for this match.  Mekeil Williams is also suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

A win for the Rapids today is not out of reach, but it will be tough as they have to be on their toes defensively in order to keep the guys in red from putting the game away early.  Toronto seems to struggle a little when they have more than 50% possession after 90 minutes (4-2-5 vs 7-0-1 when TFC possesses more than 50%), so we should expect to see the Rapids try to play counter attack today.

It’s still a bit of a guessing game when it comes to who may start for the Rapids.  Not just due to unknown status of injuries, but we all know Coach Pablo doesn’t like to use the same lineup that much.   Bobby Burling is still out because of a foot injury.  Listed as questionable are Josh Gatt and Axel Sjoberg.  No mention of Gashi, so if he is not in the first team 18, we have a right to be pissed. There was no official notification as to if his Achilles will have him sidelined this week.

No matter whom the other ten guys are that lineup in front of Macmath the Rapids will have to make a collective effort in order to get a result today.  That midfield may act as a battle zone stopping short of barbed wire fences and landmines.  Azira, Nana, and Mo will have to pounce and prey on the opponent’s second touch, and they will have to be sure that their passes out of pressure get to the right player.  If we can control the midfield, we will have a good chance at turning the tides.

Viewing parties for this one will be at the Celtic and Blue Spruce Brewing if you are feeling social and want to see some of your C38 family.  This is an east coast game so do not forget that kickoff is at 5pm.

Predicted starting XI: MacMath, Hairston, Ford, Watts, Miller, Saied, Boateng, Azira, Serna, Doyle, Badji.

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