Colorado Rapids will be looking to continue moving in the right direction today, and a match against lowly Toronto FC provides the hosts with what appears to be a great opportunity to do just that (8pm ET Saturday; TV: Live on TSN1, ESPN+). Then again, the visitors go to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in better form having won each of their last two in all competitions.
Read on for our Colorado vs Toronto predictions and full preview, before culminating with our betting picks for this MLS game.
Colorado’s fantastic campaign continued last time out. They couldn’t beat the Vancouver Whitecaps, but they put another point on the board, which means that they remain comfortably in third position in the Western Conference. In terms of wins, the Rapids haven’t been prolific of late, but as the saying goes, if you are not winning, don’t lose, and that’s exactly how it’s gone for Robin Fraser’s men, who have tied each of their last three and who are now unbeaten in ten matchups.
It’s been a dismal season for Toronto, a franchise that has often gone deep into the postseason, even going as far as lifting MLS Cup. This time around, though, the Canadians have floundered massively. Twenty five games in and they are bottom of the pile in the east, sitting on just 18 points. Any hopes of a journey into the playoffs disappeared some time ago. Fortunately, they should come into this game with renewed confidence after recent wins. OK, they only beat York FC in the Canadian Championships last time out, but that win followed an MLS victory over a Nashville side that is anything but easy to beat, so Javier Pérez’s men ought to have their tails up.
Solid home form
Few teams in Major League Soccer have done a better job of putting together a solid run of form at home than the Colorado Rapids this season. Today’s hosts have lost just one of their 12 matches at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, while only one team in the west has picked up more points per game.
The key to their success is simple, they have created more than they have conceded, while their end-product has been good enough to ensure that they’ve capitalised. Far from the most creative in the west, the Rapids average a respectable yet modest 1.44 expected goals for per 90 minutes, but that hasn’t hampered their progress as they’ve performed well at the other end, allowing an average of just 0.99. Only one team in the Western Conference has done better in terms of expected goals conceded.
If the hosts have performed well at home, then the visitors have been truly terrible on their travels. They have won just two out of 14 away games, losing 11 of the other 12, while their defensive resistance has been non-existent. TFC has surrendered no fewer than 35 goals away from home this season, which means that they have shipped an average of 2.5. It is not hard to see why they’re struggling. Offensively, even on the road, the Canadians can make their mark – only two Eastern Conference teams have scored two or more away goals than Toronto this term – but their efforts in the final third have rarely counted for anything thanks to such dismal defensive play.
What’s really, really worrying for skipper Michael Bradley and co. is the fact that they go to Colorado off the back of five straight away defeats. In those five games, TFC scored just two goals and conceded 12, allowing two or more goals on four occasions.
How can we bet this fixture?
The hosts are big favorites ahead of this cross-conference clash and rightly so. They’re in much better form and have produced a string of efforts at home that far surpass anything that TFC have achieved away from home.
For those with deep pockets, taking -200 on the home win with the big-name USA sportsbooks should be rewarding but that’s hardly the best option, even if it may appear to be the safest. Those looking for something a little juicier, can try ‘Colorado to Score Over 2.5 Goals’.
As touched on in this preview above, the Rapids haven’t been of the Western Conference’s most flamboyant home teams, but they are not averse to punishing bad defensive teams, and let’s be honest, that’s exactly what they’re going to face here. Earlier in the campaign, they notched three times at home to Minnesota United, Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas, all teams that have picked up more points than Toronto this season.
Moreover, the visitors have continued to make a habit of giving a tremendous amount away conceding three or more in two of their last three on the road, as well as in three of their last five. Let’s not forget they also concede an average of 2.5, as well as an average of 2.12 expected goals, an average which has gone up to 2.33 in their last eight on the road.
Opportunities to hit the heights offensively won’t come any better than this, certainly not this season, and the hosts are worth betting on to take the opportunity.
Forward Jonathan Lewis, 24, has found himself being the recipient of more and more game time of late and it’s not hard to see why. He has now started three on the bounce, one of which he scored in, while his total is now up to four for the season. Against such a poor visiting back-line, of those on offer, the American looks the best bet to find the net at odds of +165. Recent history would suggest that he is now much higher up the pecking order, and his current average of 0.58 expected goals per 90 tells us that he can do some damage.
So the predictions and betting picks for this Colorado vs TFC MLS matchup preview are: