Football is a funny sport. You can listen to experts, read blog posts, listen to Podcasts and hear those folks claim that only one result of a particular match is possible. Those experts were in agreement that the Rapids, regardless of who Toronto FC put on the pitch, were going to lose the game at BMO Field on Saturday. However, football is a funny sport. Things that are supposed to happen can get interrupted by a team who plays with passion and heart. That is what the Burgundy Boys gave us. They decided to ignore the script that was written and came away with a 1-0 victory over the Reds.
Here is how I saw the match:
GK: Clint Irwin 8
Better defense by the back four provided Irwin with a lighter work load in Toronto, but Irwin was still called upon to make critical saves to keep the clean sheet.
DEF: Marc Burch 7
Burch looks more and more comfortable amongst the back four and did well to help neutralize the Toronto attack. As expected with the Rapids outside backs, he moved forward into attack as needed.
DEF: Drew Moor 7
The partnership of Moor and O'Neill looked better the game around and both played pivotal roles in stopping the Reds offense.
DEF: Shane O'Neill 7
O'Neill simply looks more comfortable in a center back role then he does on the outside at right back. Now that Marvell Wynne is back from suspension, does O'Neill move to right back? Not sure I break up the partnership that he has with Moor.
DEF: Thomas Piermayr 7
You have to give props to a guy that traveled from Vancouver to Austria to Toronto and then puts in a cool 90 minutes of work. Piermayr looks comfortable on the right side and was able to move up into attack as needed.
MID: Jose Mari 7
Well I guess it was too much to ask for two more goals from him, but he played 90 strong minutes and has cemented himself as a starting defensive midfielder. He was aggressive and his passing was solid for the day.
MID: Nick LaBrocca 6.5
LaBrocca was good for the bulk of the night, but I do not think he is the best person to put on the wing of the 4-4-2 (diamond) formation. He is more of a defensive midfielder, and looks a bit uncomfortable in a more offensive role.
MID: Nathan Sturgis 6
Sturgis is not an offensive midfielder and did not have his best games from the offensive perspective, however he was able to help Mari and the defense shut down the Toronto attack.
MID: Dillon Powers 8.5
Powers is the engine that makes this team run and his assist on the goal was brilliant. Looked very comfortable as an attacking midfielder in the diamond formation.
F: Gabriel Torres 6
Torres looked fairly upset about being subbed off, and that is exactly what I want to see from him. He again did not register a shot on goal in his 63 minutes of work and as a striker, he is paid to put balls on frame and score goals.
F: Edson Buddle 8
Buddle was a beast on Saturday. His goal was a result of his hard work and his positioning and when Buddle scores, the Rapids win. Hopefully his 100th goal of his MLS career will happen at home against San Jose.
Came on for Torres and his fresh legs were helpful in the build-up to the game winning goal.
When healthy and fit, Serna will be in the Starting XI. Registered his first assist of his MLS career. He brings that something special to the team when he is out there.