Toronto FC vs Colorado Rapids: CCL Home Leg – Will TFC Advance Easily?
Toronto FC vs Colorado Rapids ~ 8pm ET ~ BMO Field ~ TSN1
Tuesday night footy is back in TFC-land! So awesome to get to watch CCL soccer again, I know I’m not alone amongst the fan base in having missed this competition. Tonight’s home leg of this round of the Concacaf Champions League sees Toronto FC in the driver’s seat and the earliest ever match being played at BMO Field. No frigid temperatures to deal with this time and a full compliment of players available – should be a walk in the park, right?
Last week’s away leg saw TFC shake off a difficult first half – and freezing conditions – to take control in the second half with two lovely away goals courtesy of Jonathan Osorio and Sebastian Giovinco. Those two goals mean that the Rapids would need to score three goals this evening – while holding Toronto scoreless – in order to advance past the Reds; a very unlikely scenario. With MLS First Kick and TFC’s home opener this Saturday, will Greg Vanney switch up his Starting XI to give players a rest? Also unlikely.
Last week both Chris Mavinga and new signing Gregory van der Weil were absent from the squad (along with Tosaint Ricketts), as Vanney used the 4-4-2 this wasn’t a huge deal with three other CBs to call upon. The only surprise was seeing Auro get the start over Nicolas Hasler. Other than the stellar play of Osorio, the standout player was indeed the young RB Auro who linked up well with Seba and the rest of the team and showed no signs of weather or game shock. Twas rather nice!
So what does Vanney do tonight? They’re in full control of this tie and the home opener (TFC are kicking off the MLS season) is this Saturday afternoon – will some lesser lights get minutes to rest the big guns? While it’s certainly a workable prospect, it’s an unlikely one – the first team gelling and being comfortable with one another is at this moment more important than giving bench players significant minutes. Not that I wouldn’t love to see Ashtone Morgan and Jay Chapman out there, it’s highly unlikely that either will even get the 90 seconds that Jordan Hamilton saw in the away leg.
Tonight I expect Toronto to come out in their 3-5-2 (with perhaps Mavinga and van der Weil), dominate early and then sub off some of the stars ahead of Saturdays match – expect a much faster game than last week as the Rapids can’t afford to sit back (will Gashi be back?) and TFC will look to put the game away early. It’s going to be beautiful (for February) weather, it’s a return to the tournament that must of us love, and hey, we get to see our team for the first time this year! Awesome stuff. I’m going with a 3-1 drubbing by Toronto.