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Colorado vs. Toronto: Three Questions with Waking The Red

TORONTO - JULY 10: Maicon Santos #29 of the Toronto FC gets around Kosuke Kimura #27 of the Colorado Rapids during a MLS game at BMO Field July 10 2010 in Toronto Ontario Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
TORONTO - JULY 10: Maicon Santos #29 of the Toronto FC gets around Kosuke Kimura #27 of the Colorado Rapids during a MLS game at BMO Field July 10 2010 in Toronto Ontario Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
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Oh hey, the Rapids actually have a game this weekend after a decent amount of rest, what a concept! And they're not going to be completely shredded with injury this time around! And it's against Toronto FC at home, what fun! This should be a relatively easy match for the Rapids, but Toronto is never a team to sleep on, especially when you're the Rapids, a team that always seems to derp it up whenever they play the Reds. Either way, Duncan Fletcher of SBnation's home for TFC Waking the Red and I swapped some fun tidbits of info about our teams with each other this week.

You can find the great info I gave him about the Rapids on this here page, check out his answers to my TFC questions below!

UZ: I read in your post-game recap of the Cup game against Vancouver on Thursday that Tony Tchani went down injured. How serious was the injury and is there a chance we'll see him at Commerce City on Sunday?

WtR: He was falling to the ground, and his foot got caught on the fieldturf, so his leg went down at a bad angle.  I'm no doctor, and TFC are terrible for releasing any info on injuries, I half expect them to call it a 'lower body injury' NHL style, but it looked like a sprained ankle.  Hopefully it's not too serious, but googling the phrase 'high ankle sprain' scares me with it's mentions of months long recovery times.  The fact that he played on for the last few minutes of the first half without looking too bad is a good sign that it's just a minor injury.  However he tweeted on Thursday "God will get me through this like He always do."  which doesn't sound too optimistic.

Either way, I'd expect him to sit this game out as a precaution at the very least.  It's a shame, as he's been looking very good recently.  His partner in midfield, Jacob Peterson, also left that game with an injury.  He's been almost an ever present so far, and is our usual free kick and corner taker, losing both of them for any length of time would be a big blow.

UZ: When Toronto got rid of De Rosario, I predicted they would look more team oriented but just worse play without his quality. How has the team responded to their best offensive force leaving the squad?

WtR: So far, almost exactly as you predicted.  We certainly haven't gone from strength to strength in his absence and are struggling to replace his goals.  The main thing we've lost is a good plan B, when things weren't working, there was always the possibility De Rosario would take it on himself to make something happen, usually it wouldn't work, but occasionally it did with spectacular results.

I think in the end, it will help the team get better, but right now we're still in the 'just taken our training wheels off' stage. Maicon Santos was given a few games in the attacking midfielder spot De Rosario vacated, but didn't impress at all. The team's still learning to play how Aron Winter wants them to, which is a more team oriented, possession based game and it's all very much a work in progress, with the team often looking slow, uncomfortable and generally uninspired up front.

UZ: With the Voyagers Cup days sandwiching the Rapids game, do you think Toronto will be looking ahead for that or even not put out a full strength squad against the Rapids in preparation of wanting to snag the silverware a few days later?

WtR: I bloody hope so.  We're currently in the middle of an 11 games in 36 days stretch, Sunday will be game 9 on day 30, and Aron Winter hasn't really done that much rotating of his squad, so the first team has got to be knackered by now.  Add in the fact that we're terrible away from home at the best of times and Colorado is a tough place to play and I'd already be suggesting to use this as an opportunity to rest the first team.  Now imagine you've got the Rocky Mountain Cup being played for either side of this game, AND the winner gets to go to the Champions League in a season where any league success seems unlikely, what would you do?  I'd be angry if we don't play whichever kids/reserves made the trip out there for this game.  I'd expect that B team to scrap like hell to try and get something out of the game, or make their case for more playing time, but please don't play the first team, save them for the second leg. 

Having said all that, Aron Winter has so far shown that he either doesn't believe in squad rotation, or he just doesn't have that many players he trusts, or he thinks they need as much time together as they can get to become more comfortable (that's certainly true, they do).  He's been pretty much going with his first team all through this run, and though I hope I'm wrong, I feel that he may keep going with that.  Some changes will be forced on Winter, Julian de Guzman's suspended, and Tchani and Peterson have injuries, so there'll definitely be an experimental midfield.  Beyond that, though I'll hope for more, there'll probably be only one or two further changes, but it'll still be a team the Rapids definitely should beat.