Toronto missing three stars against Colorado

Toronto FC will be continuing to rely on its depth as it looks to further cement its status as the elite team in Major League Soccer.

Toronto (11-3-6) will possibly be without designated player Sebastian Giovinco (hip injury) and fellow designated players Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, who are out on international duty, as it hosts the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at BMO Field.

In Toronto’s unlikely tie against New York City FC during the week, it was long-time defender Ashtone Morgan who scored his first goal to put Toronto on its way. The team will need players like him to chip in with the team missing its three most potent weapons.

“I’ve showed a lot of fight and resilience to get back to where I am,” said Morgan, who is getting playing time again after a long absence to start the year when he needed foot surgery. “I feel really good and I’m excited to see where I am.”

Toronto’s lineup will be bolstered by the return of Canadians Jonathan Osorio and Tosaint Ricketts and Panama’s Armando Cooper, all back from Gold Cup. They could all be fit for selection but it will be decided closer to the game.

Colorado (6-11-1) also will be without its biggest name as goalkeeper Tim Howard is still at the Gold Cup with the United States.

Howard’s absence aside, it’s a tough prospect for the Rapids to get back in the win column after losing to Seattle in their last game almost three weeks ago.

The Rapids have lost three of their last four games.

“We had time to recharge and get away for a bit but we’re ready to get back into action,” said midfielder Dillon Serna of the club’s 18-day break thanks to the international break and a bye with other teams in action in midweek.

“We’re coming into this game knowing that their guys aren’t going to be available, but we’re coming into this game, no matter who they have, expecting nothing less than three points.”

Toronto’s lineup is bolstered by the return of defender Nick Hagglund, who had been out with a knee injury, but it is still without Steven Beitashour on the back line, and Justin Morrow is also away with the United States for the Gold Cup.

Colorado will miss defender Bobby Burling (foot) and forward Shkelzen Gashi (calf). Josh Gatt (groin) and Axel Sjoberg (hamstring) are questionable.