Toronto FC-Rapids Preview

The Associated Press

Neither Toronto FC nor the Colorado Rapids have impressed thus far.

Both could sorely use three points as they meet in Colorado on Saturday night with the Rapids looking to snap a four-game winless streak in the series.

Toronto (1-3-4), which seeks its first road win since July 14, has been plagued by a suspect defense. It has allowed two goals in four of its last six league matches and is one of two teams yet to record a shutout.

Toronto hasn't won since a 2-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on March 9, and it had played to four straight draws in the league until a 2-1 home loss to New York last Saturday.

It was the third straight match that saw Toronto squander a lead in the 89th minute or later, this time surrendering a header six minutes after notching the tying goal.

Toronto blew a different kind of lead in its latest match. Ahead 2-0 after the home leg of its Canadian Championship semifinals with Montreal, Toronto was blown out 6-0 in Wednesday's second leg.

Coach Ryan Nelsen is hoping his club's latest setback was the end of its downward spiral.

"As I just said to the guys, there are certain points in the season that are turning points," Nelsen told the team's official website. "... Nobody would have thought that this loss was coming. We do have a really young team and sometimes these things will happen. It happens to every team.

"This is something we will look back at after a certain amount of time - after this club has evolved into a different animal – and we'll say that this was where it probably started."

Meanwhile, Colorado (2-4-3), which hasn't defeated Toronto since March 18, 2010, comes off a 1-1 draw at Houston on Sunday. Drew Moor's header off of a corner kick from Dillon Powers was the team's first set-piece goal.

"The set piece game is getting better," coach Oscar Pareja told the league's official website. "Always, defensively, we're more concentrated on the job. We are aggressive and we have to continue in that part because it's a big, big part of MLS."

Colorado will be without midfielder Hendry Thomas, who is sidelined due to a strained left hamstring he suffered against Houston. Thomas started all nine matches and led the team in minutes this season with 772.

"As much as we hate to lose players, and a player like Hendry who is that important in the team, everybody is working hard to make the best out of that opportunity," Pareja told the team's official website.

While Thomas' absence will be significant for Colorado, Toronto will see the debut of Matias Laba as a designated player. General manager Kevin Payne said the transfer fee paid for the 21-year-old former Argentinos Juniors midfielder is the highest the franchise has ever paid.

"Even though he is a young man he has captained his teams previously," Nelsen said. "We need a few more of those kinds of guys."

Toronto is 7-3-1 in this series, which has only seen the visiting team win once.

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