Toronto FC’s game in Colorado on Saturday will be part reunion, albeit with three points on the line.
The Rapids are full of TFC connections starting with head coach Robin Fraser, a former TFC assistant who took over the Colorado team in August 2019.
TFC alumni on the Colorado roster include Drew Moor, Clint Irwin, Steven Beitashour and Collen Warner while Mark-Anthony Kaye spent time at the Toronto academy. The Rapids traded former TFC forward Nicolas Benezet to Seattle last month.
“I haven’t seen them in a game that counts since I left,” said Moor, who rejoined Colorado as a free agent in November 2019. “I definitely miss seeing some of the guys and really the team as a whole.
“When the schedule came out, I knew it was going to be super-imbalanced. But to have them on it was pretty special. I’m looking forward to it.”
Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono, for one, keeps an eye on the Rapids.
“It’s one of those teams, when you see them do well it kind of puts a smile to your face because you got to spend so much time with some of the players and the staff members of that team,” he said. “It will be good to see Robin and some of those guys. It will be fun to compete against them. They’re one of the top teams in the West right now.”
Colorado (12-4-8) is third in the Western Conference with 44 points, 26 ahead of Toronto (4-15-6) which occupies the MLS basement.
The Rapids are unbeaten in their last 10 outings (5-0-5), tying their last three games and four of the last five. It’s the team’s longest unbeaten run since 2016 when it went 8-0-7 en route to its best-ever regular-season finish (15-6-13).
Their last loss was July 24 at Real Salt Lake.
Colorado is also unbeaten in its last 11 (6-0-5) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park since a 3-1 loss to Austin FC in its home opener April 24.
Toronto is coming off a short turnaround, following a 4-0 midweek win over York United FC in Canadian Championship play. TFC defeated Nashville SC 2-1 last Saturday, snapping a six-game losing streak and nine-game winless run (0-7-2).
Toronto and Colorado have not met since a pair of meetings during the 2020 pre-season.
Toronto will be shorthanded Saturday with captain Michael Bradley suspended for yellow card accumulation and Ayo Akinola, Jozy Altidore, Tsubasa Endoh, Ralph Priso, Jordan Perruzza and Alejandro Pozuelo out injured.
Pozuelo, the reigning MLS MVP, misses his fifth straight game with a lower body injury.
Like many, Moor is surprised by TFC’s rough go of it this season. But he says the problems posed by the pandemic have made life difficult for Canadian teams.
“I know they’ve said all the right things, that it’s not an excuse and stuff. But I would use it as a pretty good excuse because they were away from their families, away from their homes. They were living in a hotel, they were playing home games in an away stadium.”
Add a coaching change and it’s been “a very difficult situation.”