Robin Fraser is focusing on the positives following a run of three straight draws for Colorado Rapids heading into Saturday’s clash with Toronto FC at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The Rapids led against the LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps, only to be pegged back on each occasion.
Fraser’s side is still in third place in the Western Conference, however, and the Rapids boss is hopeful that lessons have been learned at a time when his side have kept its unbeaten run going.
“I’d be a lot more concerned if this conversation was, ‘we scored three goals in the 90th minute to just barely get a tie’,” he said. “My point is that we’re doing a lot of things well. We’re creating chances. We’ve taken leads in all three games. It’s really how you look at it, right? Glass half full, glass half empty.
“We have to get better at certain things, but while we are learning these lessons, we are still acquiring points. Not as many as we want to be, but we’re still acquiring points.”
Toronto makes the trip to Colorado with some momentum on its side at long last, thanks to back-to-back victories.
The Reds snapped a six-match losing streak in the league with a 2-1 win against Nashville SC and followed that up with a 4-0 win over York United in the Canadian Championship quarter-finals.
Jonathan Osorio, who opened the scoring in that midweek tie, believes his side can take great confidence from recent performances.
“It was a big win for us against York,” he said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but to win like we did, the way we were supposed to, it’s a big confidence boost.
“Our last two games have been very good. We won the last game, against the second-place team in the East, and the game before that against Inter Miami we deserved to win even with a man down. Three positive performances in a row. This is good for the team. We want to end the season strong.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Colorado Rapids – Jack Price
Price curled in the delivery for Danny Wilson to convert the Rapids’ goal against the Whitecaps, making it a team-leading nine assists for the season.
The English midfielder has now set up goals in successive games and three in Colorado’s last five to tie Ross Paule for the third-most assists in franchise history (29).
Toronto FC – Jacob Shaffelburg
Having got himself on the scoresheet with his composed finish against Nashville, Shaffelburg turned creator with a couple of assists against York United on Wednesday. The 21-year-old, approaching the end of his third season in and around Toronto’s first team, has now surely done enough to nail down a regular starting spot.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Colorado has won six of its eight home matches against Toronto (D1 L1), holding the Reds to just two goals in the eight games (0.25 per match). Only Toronto at Chivas (one goal in six games – 0.17) and Houston at Seattle (three goals in 13 games – 0.23) have a lower goals-per-match average on the road against a team it has visited five times or more.
– The Rapids’ unbeaten run reached 10 games after a 1-1 draw with the Whitecaps on Sunday (W5 D5), though the last three matches have ended in draws. The Rapids have only one longer unbeaten streak in their MLS history, a 15-match run from April to July 2016.
– Toronto ended a six-match losing streak with a 2-1 victory over Nashville last week. The win also ended a nine-match winless run (D2 L7), Toronto’s longest since 2013 (11 straight).
– Price recorded his ninth assist of the season in Colorado’s draw with Vancouver last week after recording 11 assists in 2019. Price is one assist away from becoming the first Rapids player with multiple 10-assist seasons since Terry Cooke in 2006 and 2008.
– Omar Gonzalez scored his second goal of the season in Toronto’s win over Nashville last week, his third in three seasons with Toronto. The right-footed strike was just the third of his 17 MLS goals that he has not scored with his head.