COMMERCE CITY CO (Sunday October 7 2007)- The Colorado Rapids kept themselves in playoff contention tonight with a 1-0 victory over Toronto FC in front of 10832 fans at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. (To view video highlights from this match click here).
The win moves the Rapids into ninth place in the overall MLS standings with 32 points four behind the Chicago Fire with two matches to play. The Rapids leaped ahead of the Columbus Crew who lost at home over the weekend and still hold a lead by two points over the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Brandon Prideaux had the first shot of the night for Colorado in the seventh minute. Jovan Kirovski played a wide ball to Colin Clark who put it into the box. Conor Casey passed the cross to Prideaux but the defender couldn’t put it past Toronto ‘keeper Kenny Stamatopoulos
The Rapids had another great opportunity in the 10th minute. Casey received the ball on the left wing and did well to find Mehdi Ballouchy streaking out of midfield. Unmarked the Moroccan midfielder tried to slip a right-footed shot into the far corner of the net but his effort was pushed out for a corner by Stamatopoulos.
Toronto's best opportunity of the first half was in the 30th minute when Wynne beat Mike Petke at the top of the box and sent a strong pass across the penalty area. The ball harmlessly went through the penalty area but goalie Bouna Coundoul and Toronto's Collin Samuel collided on the play. After being treated both players continued on.
Ballouchy was given his marching orders soon after by referee Kevin Stott on a straight red card in 36th minute for a studs-up tackle on Toronto's Carl Robinson near midfield.
A man down after Ballouchy was sent off the Rapids got a chance to reverse their fortunes in the 43rd minute. On a corner kick Casey flicked the ball into the 6-yard box with his head towards a lurking Facundo Erpen. The Argentine defender never got the chance to finish; he was dragged down by Chris Pozniak earning a penalty.
Kirovski stepped up and confidently converted from the spot for the fourth time this season giving the Rapids the 1-0 lead.
Colorado was stopped on a golden chance in the 63rd minute. A long ball was played out of the back for Omar Cummings. The speedy forward did well to catch up to the pass and sent a pinpoint cross from the right wing to Kirovski who was waiting at the penalty spot. Kirovski struck a terrific volley but the shot was somehow punched away by Stamatopoulos.
The Rapids tried to make things interesting for the last few minutes as Mastroeni earned his second yellow card in the 87th minute for dragging down Todd Dunivant from behind leaving the Rapids down two men and the club without their captain for next week's match at Chivas USA.
After Mastroeni was sent off for a second yellow card Toronto had their best chance of the match. The ensuing restart was slid across the top of the box to Miguel Canizales. The unmarked second-half sub blasted the ball on target producing a terrific flying save from Bouna Coundoul.
The Rapids continue their push toward the playoffs as they travel to Southern California to take on Chivas USA in their next match taking place this coming Sunday Oct. 14. The 1 p.m. MT kickoff can be seen live on Telefutura.
COL – Kirovski (penalty kick) 43
Colorado Rapids – Bouna Condoul Kosuke Kimura Facundo Erpen Mike Petke Brandon Prideaux Terry Cooke Mehdi Ballouchy Pablo Mastroeni Colin Clark Conor Casey (Omar Cummings 57 Stephen Keel 92+) Jovan Kirovski
Substitutes not used: Zach Thornton Jose Cancela Daniel Osorno Stephen Keel Jacob Peterson Nicolas Hernandez
Toronto FC – Kenny Stamatopoulos Adam Braz (Tyler Hemming 46) Tyrone Marshall Todd Dunivant Chris Pozniak (Joey Melo 63) Maurice Edu Carl Robinson Marvell Wynne Gabe Gala (Miguel Canizalez 46) Jeff Cuningham Collin Samuel
Substitutes not used: Srdjan Djekanovic David Guzman Andrea Lombardo Marco Reda
COL – Mastroeni (Caution) 17
TOR – Braz (Caution) 27
COL – Ballouchy (Ejection) 36
TOR – Robinson (Caution) 85
COL – Mastroeni (Ejection 2nd Caution) 88
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referees Assts.: Fabio Tovar Jose Corro
Fourth Official: Ben Chouaf