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Rapids readying to face Toronto

April 17, 2010 | 3:15 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

Is it possible to imagine Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper publicly commenting if the Rapids had lost the first two games of the season?

That’s what happened in Toronto, where the mayor there felt the need to air his worries about the club after the Canadian side dropped the first two games by a combined 6-1 margin. Thursday night the club bought a measure of relief as Toronto FC eeked out a 2-1 win over the expansion Philadelphia Union.

“Eeked” is a loaded term — after all, even a lousy win is still worth three points in the standings — but considering that Toronto played a first-year team that lost its captain to a first-half red card at BMO Field in Toronto and needed a goalkeeping error for the first score and a penalty kick for the second, eeked seems about right.

Watching that game, the most surprising elements were how Philadelphia kept finding room to attack and how Dwayne De Rosario could provide just enough spark to get his team by a lesser side. De Rosario scored both goals, one on a restart and the other from the penalty spot. He also slotted back into more of a midfield position in the second half, where he provided distribution that the club otherwise lacked.

For Sunday, it means the Rapids (1-1-1)  may get the chance to expose some of the same flatness in the back with the strike tandem of Conor Casey and Omar Cummings. It also means that Rapids fans had better watch out if De Rosario is distributing the ball instead of waiting for service.

Homecoming: Sunday afternoon (game time at 3 p.m.) will represent the first time Nick LaBrocca, Ty Harden and Jacob Peterson will have appeared in Colorado since being traded to Toronto during separate transactions in the off-season. LaBrocca, a bulwark in the Rapids midfield the past two seasons, has brought his bull terrier nature to the field for Toronto and is likely to start. Peterson came off the bench on Thursday night, and seems to be the right-foot option on the midfield wing and in defense for the Reds. Harden has also been sitting on the subs bench.

Wynne’s World: Marvell Wynne also gets to face his former teammates on Sunday. Converted to a central back by Colorado, Wynne was a standout on the defensive wings for Toronto. Sent packing by new coach Preki, Wynne has been a revelation in the back for the Rapids, showing speed and strength that can negate many an attack while learning the center back position. For some reason, I suspect he will try to get forward on deadballs Sunday with the intent of poking something on goal in payback for his departure.

Against Toronto: While Toronto has drawn exceptional fan support in its first three seasons, the team has struggled on the field. One of the few clubs it has handled well has been the Rapids. Toronto owns a 4-2-0 mark against Colorado. However, the Rapids are 2-1-0 against the Reds at home.

Last Meeting: On Sept. 12 in Toronto, FC slipped by the Rapids 3-2.

Out Sunday: Defender Julien Baudet won’t be on the field for the Rapids on Sunday after being ejected from the game against Kansas City. While Baudet serves a one-game suspension, the only other Rapids out of action are midfielder Ciaran O’Brien, recovering from a hip strain, and forward Ross Schunk, who is out with a torn ACL in his right leg.

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