Colorado Rapids vs. Toronto FC, Prediction, Preview and Odds-9/25/21
The Colorado Rapids play host to Toronto FC on Saturday night from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, in Commerce City, CO, in a crucial tilt between Eastern Conference and Western Conference foes. The two teams haven’t met since all the way back in 2019, with Toronto winning both 2019 matchups, by a combined aggregate score of 5-2. Over the course of the last five meetings, dating back to 2018, Toronto has won three matchups, with Colorado winning one, and the fifth being a draw. Toronto is all but eliminated from playoff contention for yet another season, sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference, and has the fewest points in all of MLS by one point. Colorado, on the other hand, sits in third place in the Western Conference, only two points off the top spot and a comfortable 11 points ahead of the first team out of the playoffs, if the season ended today. While it appears Toronto might have thrown in the towel on the season, Colorado still has quite a bit to play for on Saturday night and down the stretch. Saturday at least promises to be a game with playoff implications, which can’t be said of every game on the MLS slate. Either way, the Western Conference standings could look different by the time Saturday’s game is over.
Toronto Eyeing 2022
It’s safe to say that Toronto has fallen on hard times this season, unable to make waves at all in the Eastern Conference. With almost certainty, changes will be on the horizon this offseason, but for the time being, they’ll need to try to put a productive product out on the field for the rest of this season. Through 25 games, Toronto has only 18 points, winning only four matches all season long, and has a goal differential of minus-23, which is the worst in the league. They sit 17 points behind Philadelphia for the last playoff spot and with nine games left, would need to probably win every game down the stretch to even have a chance at making the playoffs, and that would take a lot of help along the way as well from other teams ahead of them. They’re certainly setting themselves up for failure as the season draws to a close but with the talent in their squad, they always have a chance to surprise a team or two along the way.
One reason for Toronto’s lack of success this season has been their inability to stay healthy. According to the league’s availability report, they have seven players who are out for Saturday night’s matchup. The talent on the injury list alone would likely be enough to catapult them into a playoff standing. Ayo Akinola (torn ACL), Jozy Altidore (lower body), Ralph Priso (lower body), Alejandro Pozuelo (lower body), Tsubasa Endoh (lower body), Jayden Nelson (health and safety protocols), Nick DeLeon (health and safety protocols), are all out for Saturday. The slightly good news is that they don’t have anyone listed as questionable, so at least they’ll know exactly who they’ll have ready to go on Saturday and a gameplan intact.
For Toronto, They have plenty of offense in the wings now that the injury bug has taken over. Jonathan Osorio, the leading scorer with four goals, is still available, as are their top two midfield creative threats. Yeferson Soteldo, who leads the team with four assists, will be available and ready to go. Overall, Toronto will only be without eight of their season goals on Saturday and while being on the road will be a challenge itself, they still have the players to make things happen and find the back of the net. Expect some of the younger players to get plenty of minutes and it’ll come down to if the minute becomes too big for them or not. In all likelihood, the matchup at hand will be tough for Toronto to overcome and fans shouldn’t expect much from the ragtag group of starters.
Rapids Eyeing Top Of Western Conference
The Rapids have quietly put together one of their more impressive seasons in recent memory and remain right in the thick of things for the playoff race. While it seems likely that they’ll find themselves in the postseason, if not soon guaranteed, they still have some work to do if they want to secure the best seeding possible. They enter Saturday sitting on 44 points in 24 games and a plus-sixteen goal differential, only two points behind Sporting Kansas City for the top spot in the conference. Getting points down the stretch is the key right now and with the worst teams in the league coming to town, they know that they can’t afford to do anything besides come away with a win. They’ve only come out with a draw in three straight matches and a win would be a nice bounce back. They haven’t lost though in ten matches and a loss already seems out of the question. Expect a complete and focused performance from Rapids at home and for Toronto to be the unfortunate beneficiary of that.
Unlike their opponents, Colorado enters with a completely healthy squad and no one out, and no one questionable. They enter Saturday as one of only two MLS teams with no injuries to worry about and their ability to stay healthy has been one of the key advantages they have on a weekly basis. Michael Barrios is the leading scorer and is second on the team with three assists and will be the focal point of the offense. Beside him are four other players with four goals each to their name. One to keep an eye on in the attack is Mark-Anthony Kaye. He only has one goal and one assist on the season but played an integral role on the LAFC teams of years past and his commitment in the midfield is a big reason why this team has turned a corner this season.
Defensively, they have one of the most experienced goalkeeper rooms in MLS. Between Clint Irwin’s experience and William Yarbrough’s internal experience, the leadership at that position is unmatched. Helping out in the back is the consistent group of Keegan Rosenberry, Auston Trusty, Steven Beitashour, and then various defensive midfielders that always seem to make the difference. Rosenberry is one to keep an eye on in the back, as he constantly finds ways to get forward and is one of their better attackers, despite being part of the defense.
Pick: Colorado (-190)
Picking the Rapids to win this matchup is one of the easiest picks of the day. Not only is Toronto beaten up with nearly a full eleven injured, but they also have to travel internationally, across North American, for the game. That travel is rarely easy and given the inexperience on Toronto’s side of things, the struggles will be expected. For Colorado, not only are they home again but they are completely healthy and will have their choice of a starting lineup and the depth to match. Toronto has little to play for which will hurt their drive and on the flip side, Colorado has everything to play for. They clearly still want to secure the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs and a win could secure that for the time being. Expect the Rapids to come out sharp and to grab an easy win at home on Saturday night.
Toronto is missing quite a bit from their attack and even the players they do have, won’t be expected to contribute in a big way on the road, having to travel all the way out west. For Colorado, scoring shouldn’t be an issue for them but with an understanding of how easy this game might be, the second half might end up being a walk in the park. With what should be an easy and early secured win, the Rapids’ ability to coast will probably cost the over from being the play. Four of the last five teams these two teams have played has resulted in two goals or less and that same type of game and scoreline is the expectation for Saturday.