Rapids-Toronto FC Preview

Toronto FC began turning around its season when Paul Mariner

took over as coach last month.

Now, Mariner hopes to help rally his club after learning its

leading scorer is out for the season.

Toronto will play its first match since losing striker Danny

Koevermans to a knee injury when it hosts the struggling Colorado

Rapids on Wednesday night.

Mariner replaced former coach Aron Winter on June 7 with Toronto

(4-11-4) coming off its first victory after setting an MLS record

with nine straight defeats to open a season. The club lost its

first contest under Mariner but has since gone 3-1-4, including

Saturday’s 1-0 win at New England.

The latest victory came at a cost, though, as Koevermans

suffered a torn left ACL while chasing a loose ball in the 37th

minute. Koevermans’ nine goals are tied for fifth in MLS.

“I think everybody can see what he’s been doing for the team,”

Mariner said. “He was doing everything he possibly could to move

the team up (the standings). I’m not going to say we’re not

devastated about it. He’s a great guy. We were in touch with each

other over the week and I just feel for him.”

Koevermans assisted on Luis Silva’s goal in the eighth minute

before suffering the injury. Silva also netted a goal in last

Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Vancouver, and Mariner said players like

Silva will need to step up with Toronto’s leader sidelined.

“Fortunately for us, Luis is scoring goals,” Mariner said. “It’s

the same old story in football – somebody goes down and it’s

somebody else’s opportunity.”

Toronto has won all five of its home meetings versus Colorado,

which enters this visit looking to avoid a season-worst fourth

consecutive defeat.

Colorado (7-11-1) has dropped five of six after falling 2-1 to

FC Dallas on Saturday. Omar Cummings scored for the second straight

game to give the Rapids the lead in the 50th minute, but they gave

up goals in the 60th and 81st.

Each of Colorado’s last five defeats have been by one goal.

“It is frustrating to see what has happened in our other games

and not to get the results,” coach Oscar Pareja told the team’s

official website. “We do a lot of good things and we can’t

finish.

“I don’t want the group to lose their heads because it’s a

fragile moment when you don’t get results. You’ve got to keep

going.”

Koevermans scored both of Toronto’s goals in a 2-1 home victory

over Colorado in the most recent meeting Sept. 17.

The Rapids have lost seven of eight on the road.