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Colorado vs. Toronto - Several Questions With Waking The Red

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 17: Julian de Guzman #6 of Toronto FC stops Wells Thompson #15 of Colorado Rapids during MLS action at the BMO Field September 17, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 17: Julian de Guzman #6 of Toronto FC stops Wells Thompson #15 of Colorado Rapids during MLS action at the BMO Field September 17, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
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There's nothing like a good mid-week game to get the taste out of your mouth after an awful Saturday game, and Rapids fans will be hoping for a result against the former 'Worst Team In The World' on Wednesday, Toronto FC. Though they're the worst team in the league right now in terms of wins and points, their form has been good recently and they are playing in a stadium that always stymies the Rapids, BMO Field.

In anticipation of Colorado's match against Toronto, I got together with John Leung from our wonderful Reds blog Waking The Red. I asked him about losing Julian De Guzman, the possible line up for this game and more.

Remember to head over to Waking The Red to see my answers to their queries about our Rapids as well, they gave me quite a bit to talk about including questions on those infamous 'summer swoons', their former starter Marvell Wynne and a lot more. But on to WtR's answers about the Reds...

BW: We can all see that Toronto's record has improved quite a bit since they made their managerial chance, but what other chances has the team seen in terms of tactics and player use?

WtR: One thing is for sure, we're not stubbornly stuck to the 4-3-3 that Winter continually stuck with during his tenure in Toronto. Otherwise, there hasn't been all that much changes player-wise -- besides, most of the players that Winter did favour (i.e. Nick Soolsma) are now removed from the lineup, and Mariner is starting to fill their vacancies with those he favours. So what you see right now on the field, is what Mariner would prefer.
BW: Toronto just lost Julian De Guzman to Dallas. What is the general consensus among fans of what this move means for the team? Are fans generally glad he's gone or happy?

WtR: The departure of JDG is significant in the fact that it is the end of the toxic legacy "that Scotsman" (a.k.a. Mo Johnston) has left for us after his departure; the saddling of an expensive mediocre attacking midfielder, with all the wrong expectations saddled on him as a hometown boy, and the whole de Rosario mess (which culminated in the now-infamous cheque signing goal celebration, of which I personally am still offended by), it feels like another huge weight has been lifted off this team.

However, unlike the malaise that de Rosario left, JDG is still well-regarded by fans. He's not consistent, but damn, he conducts himself with class. He's not spoken out like some players have chosen to (DeRo), and I think deep down he knows he's not lived up to what I believe the Scotsman had set for him, which has caused much pain and friction within the supporter base -- but he has chosen to not act out, and when it was announced that he was leaving, supporters and players were generally positive in their goodbyes, a rare occurrance.

As for Andrew Wiedeman, for whom the jury is still out on (given he's only played just over half a match after Danny Koevermans was withdrawn) -- but at the end of the day, we get rid of a pricey, half-effective DP to free up cap space for future arrivals. Who doesn't like that?

BW: Who's a Toronto player we might not have heard of who could do some damage in our match on Wednesday?

WtR: I'm very, very tempted to say Ashtone Morgan (who if the MLS had a Young Stars game, he would be picked for, hands down), but I'm going to say Reggie Lambe. The Rapids might not want to put mint sauce on this Bermudan, because in the last few games, he's been absolutely critical in the midfield, setting up plays and making runs deep into the opposition territory. And when him and Ryan Johnson connect, and the latter finds a way to finish, Matt may be picken the ball from behind him repeatedly. (Get it? Punny, I know...) (Ed note: Booooooo)

BW: 'The Worst Team In The World' no more, where do you see the Reds ending up this season with their new-found form?

WtR: At the moment, we have to be mindful of what we have coming up. Not only do we have the rest of the season to play for, but we also have four CONCACAF Champions League games against CD Aguila and our old nemesis Santos Laguna to come. With our lineup as thin as it is right now, and with Koevermans out -- I can't foresee us making a big run towards the playoffs. I'd say we could surprise Santos Laguna, but I wouldn't bet the farm on TFC coming out of Group 1.

BW: Projected Lineup and formation?

WtR: Paul Mariner is not known to change up things that work...heck, he doesn't make many changes period. And hey, we've won two on the trot, so why change things up? Oh right...there's that little World Football Challenge match against Liverpool, followed by a seven day break before the next match. Mariner will definitely have that in mind.

With Koevermans out, Ryan Johnson could be the lone striker (good lord, did I just write that?) while Wiedeman could see some action off the bench. Otherwise, no other changes from the New England match.

So I project our lineup will be: Milos Kocic; Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry, Logan Emory, RIchard Eckersley; Reggie Lambe, Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield; Eric Avila, Luis Silva; Ryan Johnson.

Thanks again to John from Waking The Red, check out their fine little Reds supporting corner of the internet for more on our next opponent.