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Colorado Rapids coach Robin Fraser not convinced that the Reds are MLS doormats

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From a standings standpoint, the Colorado Rapids ought to have the ability to wipe the ground with Main League Soccer doormats Toronto FC on Saturday night time.

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The Rapids are a membership on a roll, an ever-improving aspect that has recorded 44 factors in 24 video games and sit solely two factors out of first-place within the MLS Western Convention. Colorado has misplaced solely as soon as in 12 matches at dwelling this season and have a plus 11 purpose differential.

The Reds, alternatively, are final in MLS with 18 factors in 25 video games with a league-worse goal-differential of minus 23. TFC has additionally given up 51 goals-against, once more an MLS low.

Nevertheless – and it’s a substantial nonetheless – the Reds are enjoying arguably their greatest soccer of the season, coming off a 4-0 victory over York United FC on Wednesday night time in Canadian Championship quarter-final play. Final Saturday, the Reds additionally beat second-place Nashville SC with out two Designated Gamers – Alejandro Pozuelo (quad harm) and Jozy Altidore (foot surgical procedure). Sadly for Toronto coach Javier Perez, each DP’s will likely be unavailable for Saturday’s match at Dick’s Sporting Items Park in Commerce Metropolis, Colo. Two different key gamers, ahead Ayo Akinola (torn ACL) and midfielder Ralph Priso (ankle surgical procedure) are out long-term. So what does that imply for Saturday night time’s match? For Rapids coach Robin Fraser – an assistant with TFC from 2015-2-2019 – it nonetheless means a tricky problem in opposition to his outdated group.

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“They’ve so many gamers which are skilled and have received and might play. You have a look at their document and it’s straightforward to go ‘Ah, the group’s no good.’ However I do know that group rather well and understand how good they’re and I do know that on any given day they are often that good,” Fraser instructed reporters this week. “No matter their points are which have gotten them to the place they’re now within the standings, for me are irrelevant. I do know the vast majority of the gamers, they usually’re very, superb gamers. They’ve gifted and really conscious midfielders, good passers, good dribblers, gifted defenders who performed in massive video games and large conditions they usually current a really, very actual risk and superb group that we now have to beat.”

There may be actually a familiarity between the 2 groups. Fraser coached in Toronto and the Rapids function for former Reds of their lineup – defenders Steven Beitashour and Drew Moor, goalkeeper Clint Irwin and midfielder Nicolas Benezet.

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Fraser’s reward for TFC apart, given the harm state of affairs, the actual fact is that Toronto is coming off a Wednesday night time match with solely three days to arrange for Colorado. Throw within the problem of getting to journey half-way throughout the continent to play at excessive altitude within the Mile Excessive Metropolis, and the Reds can have their work lower out for them.

“They play a 5-2-3 (formation), they’ve lots of velocity up entrance with (Michael) Barrios and Jonathan Lewis,” stated Perez of the Rapids. “I had the possibility to work with Jonathan in New York, I do know him very properly, I do know what he’s able to. Canadian Mark-Anthony Kaye is in good kind as properly, he has lots of presence. And in midfield they’ve (Jack) Value and (Kellyn) Acosta. Acosta, I labored with him as properly when he was a younger participant – very straightforward on the ball. And Value is a participant that has lots of expertise, organizing the group. After which they’ve the again three with (Danny) Wilson and (Auston) Trusty, they preserve the group very safe on the again after which the wing-backs.”

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Perez isn’t anticipating many surprises from Colorado, only a very formidable opponent.

“We’re going to discover a aspect that’s similar to lots of the groups that we play, this is among the formations that’s en vogue within the league,” added Perez. “It’s going to be a difficult sport with a group that’s going to be very properly organized on the again and are going to search for the possibilities and go quick up entrance.”

Barrios leads the Rapids with seven objectives, whereas Lewis, Diego Rubio, and Andre Shinyashiki have 4. Value has 9 assists.

Perez began his greatest beginning XI in opposition to York United on a depressing, wet night time on Wednesday and admitted that he’ll most likely must relaxation some gamers this weekend. Quite a few key TFC starters – together with Michael Bradley, Yeferson Soteldo, Jonathan Osorio, Auro, Mark Delgado, Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga and Richie Laryea – performed the complete 90 minutes in opposition to York United, or near a full match, so Perez has some robust choices to make when it comes to who begins in opposition to the Rapids. Toronto additionally performs video games this Wednesday night time (Cincinnati) and subsequent Sunday (Chicago) so preserving gamers wholesome and able to play will likely be a tricky problem for the coach.

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“Like we’ve been doing, we’re attempting to be constant because the group (began clicking), however perhaps we’ll must rotate a few of the gamers simply to offer them some relaxation,” stated Perez. “That’s a traditional a part of the season that we’re having with lots of video games, with not lots of time to relaxation in between. However we attempt to preserve our core group intact. Possibly few gamers must rotate simply to get some relaxation.”

Colorado, alternatively, is a membership that’s completely wholesome.

ENDOH OUT: TFC midfielder Tsubasa Endoh underwent surgical procedure on his proper leg on Friday and will likely be sidelined for the rest of the season. Endoh got here off within the first half of Toronto’s match in opposition to Inter Miami CF on Sept. 14 after hurting his leg. A full restoration is predicted for Endoh in roughly three months.

SBuffery@postmedia.com
Twitter @Beezersun

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