TORONTO — After finding themselves in an early hole against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night, goals from Ryan Johnson in the 51st minute and in the 67th by substitute Andrew Wiedeman helped Toronto FC come back for a 2-1 win at BMO Field, running their win streak to three games and dropping the visitors to a fourth loss in as many games.
It was Wiedeman's first goal for the Reds since joining the team last Friday in a trade with FC Dallas.
The first scoring opportunity of the game didn’t take long in coming. After blocking a 2nd-minute shot from Eric Avila, the Rapids managed to get their clearance only as far as Doneil Henry, who immediately collected the ball and played an incisive through-pass into the box for an on-rushing Luis Silva, who started the game at forward in place of the injured Danny Koevermans.
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The rookie attacker did well to round Matt Pickens, but was fouled before he could get his shot away. The goalkeeper was perhaps fortunate not to earn a red card for his infraction, and, though he dove the right way on the ensuing spot kick, his luck only got better when Ryan Johnson banged the shot off the outside of his left post.
The Rapids missed their own opportunity in the 18th minute, when Brian Mullan’s shot from the top of the 18-yard box banged off Milos Kocic’s right post.
It wouldn’t take much longer, however, for Colorado to finally break through. In the 23rd minute, Hunter Freeman found Conor Casey near the penalty spot, and the striker made no mistake in looping his header over Kocic to score his second of the season.
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The goal opened up the game. In the end-to-end action, both sides built up attacks well only to see the opposing defense snuff out the opportunity on the final ball. It took until the 51st minute for the next goal to come, when Silva’s short pass at the top of the box fell to Johnson after a couple of lucky bounces, and the Jamaican made no mistake this time in poking the ball past Rapids 'keeper Matt Perkins.
The Reds took the lead 16 minutes later. Henry got away from his man near the corner flag and squared a ball to Silva. The rookie’s shot hit off Wiedeman – who had come on in the 59th minute for Eric Avila – on the way in, but the deflection pinged off the inside of the post to give the striker his first Toronto FC goal.
Colorado kept working to save a point and end their losing streak, but their best chance – an 86th-minute rip by Edu from the center of the box – was comfortably handled by Kocic as TFC held on for the win.
The Reds’ three-game win streak is their longest of the season, improving head coach Paul Mariner’s record to 4-2-4 since taking over for Aron Winter earlier in the season. Toronto play their next game at home in a World Football Challenge match against Liverpool on Saturday before returning to MLS action on July 28 against Toronto FC.
The Rapids, meanwhile, will face the task of snapping their four-game skid against Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake, also on Saturday.
COL - Conor Casey 2 (Hunter Freeman 3, Brian Mullan 5) 23'
TOR - Ryan Johnson (Luis Silva) 51'
TOR - Andrew Weideman (Doneil Henry) 67'
COL - Jeff Larentowicz (caution) 92+
Colorado Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens, Tyson Wahl, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Hunter Freeman, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Tony Cascio 69), Martin Rivero, Brian Mullan (Jamie Smith 73), Omar Cummings (Edu 72), Conor Casey
Subs not use: Stew Ceus, Tyrone Marshall, Joseph Nane, Kamani Hill
Referee: Ismail Elfath