Rapids Fall 3-2 in Rematch With Toronto

TORONTO (from MLS and Rapids reports) - A pair of goals in quick succession in the second half gave Toronto FC a late 3-2 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at BMO Field.
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After Toronto's Dwayne De Rosario and Colorado's Conor Casey traded goals O'Brian White broke a 1-1 tie with a looping shot in the 71st just two minutes after the rookie forward came into the game as a substitute.
Minutes after White's goal it was fellow youngster Nana Attakora who headed in a corner with what ended up being the match-winning goal.
The result was just the second win (2-4-4) for the Reds in their last 10 games in all competitions but the three points puts them back into the MLS playoff picture. TFC improved to 3-0 all-time against Colorado at BMO Field and avenged a 1-0 loss to the Rapids last week in the reverse fixture.
Carl Robinson was scheduled to make his return after missing the last two games due to a suspension and then an ankle injury but the veteran midfielder went down during the pregame warmups with what appeared to be an aggravation of his sore ankle. Amado Guevara back from international duty with Honduras was inserted into the lineup in Robinson's place.
TFC's newly-acquired designated player Julian de Guzman was not available for selection. The midfielder was a longshot to play given that his international transfer certificate hadn't been finalized as of yesterday and also because de Guzman's hadn't played in a competitive game in almost two months.
With regular Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens out due to a knee injury suffered in training last week backup Preston Burpo was between the posts for the Rapids. The only change from last weekend's starting XI for coach Gary Smith was the insertion of Greg Dalby into the midfield in place of Mehdi Ballouchy.
Toronto entered the game in the midst of a 295-minute scoreless drought and they nearly broke that goose egg at the six-minute mark. Chad Barrett found some room on the left side and crossed to fellow striker Ali Gerba whose header just barely went wide of the right post.
The two sides traded possession for the next 10 minutes with neither team coming close to any truly quality chances. Perhaps the best opportunity was a near-miss on a passing play between Colorado's Omar Cummings and Jacob Peterson. Cummings caused a turnover in TFC's end and had Peterson open in the middle but the MLS assist leader made his pass just wide of the diving Peterson.
After that initial chance from Gerba TFC finally broke out of their scoring slump in the 19th minute. From the right side Marvell Wynne crossed to the middle of the field where Gerba Pablo Vitti and De Rosario were all positioned. It was De Rosario who collected the pass (almost seeming to intercept Vitti to do so) then turned and fired a hard shot that snaked its way past a few bodies and found the right side of the net.
The goal was the 10th of the year for De Rosario putting him two goals behind Casey for the lead in the MLS Golden Boot standings. De Rosario also became the first Reds player to reach a double-digit goal total in a season. The strike ended TFC's scoreless streak at 314 minutes.
De Rosario and Gerba almost connected on a scoring chance in the 25th minute while at the other end of the field Peterson kicked a hard ground ball just inches past the right post.
Toronto showed far more aggression on attack than they did last week at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. In that match TFC had just one shot on goal and four shots overall whereas they had topped both totals through 30 minutes on Saturday.
In fact it was Colorado who were having problems creating chances on this day -- the Rapids didn't have a shot on goal in the first half. In the 40th minute Casey nearly found a cross in front of the net but Wynne was in position to make a nice move and intercept the pass at the last moment before it reached Casey's feet.
Just at the start of the second half TFC came painfully close to doubling their lead. Vitti found some room on the right side and bounced a pass into the middle that somehow evaded everyone before Gerba stopped it with a back-heel toward the open net. The only man in the way was defender Julien Baudet who slid across the line to make a goalmouth block.
The Rapids capitalized on the counter-attack following Gerba's close call. Kosuke Kimura was covered by two Reds defenders on the right touchline but he managed a cross out of the crowd. A skying ball made it to the left side of the net to Casey and the big forward outjumped center back Nick Garcia to powerfully head the ball inside the right post for the equalizer.
It was league-leading 13th goal of the year for Casey and his second in as many weeks against Toronto as Casey also scored the game-winner last weekend.
Casey's goal seemed to spur the Rapids who spent much of the next 10 minutes putting the Reds on their back heels. Colorado's aggressiveness was perhaps their only enemy in this stretch as a pair of quality runs were called back due to offside flags.
O'Brian White and Lesly Fellinga came into the game for TFC in the 68th minute in place of Gerba and Vitti as Toronto interim head coach Chris Cummins looked to give his club a spark in this must-win game. It was the first appearance in MLS for Fellinga since his signing with the Reds on August 12.
The substitutions worked in capital fashion. In the 71st minute a five-touch passing play ended with De Rosario getting the ball to an open White as he roudned a defender into the area. Facing a hard-charging Burpo the rookie striker chipped the ball in a high arc that sailed through the air and inside the right post.
It was the second goal in as many home games for White who was the last Red to score before TFC went on their 314-minute drought.
Just three minutes later another young TFC player against found the back of the net. Guevara sent a corner kick into the box that found the head of a jumping Nana Attakora who put the ball past Burpo to give the Reds a two-goal lead. Attakora's goal was the 20-year-old's first as a professional.
Now facing a two-goal deficit after that sudden outburst from TFC the Rapids kept up the pressure in a desperate attempt to get back in the game. Midfielder Nick LaBrocca had a tremendous chance from point-blank range within the Toronto box but he fired it directly at Reds goalkeeper Stefan Frei who had the shot bounce off his leg and out of danger.
Just when it seemed as if the Reds would just be able to run out the clock the Rapids got on the board again. Following a throw-in from the corner the ball bounced around the box before getting to substitute Michael Holody who converted on the turn from 10 yards out.
It was Holody's first career goal in just his second game since being drafted 59th overall by the Rapids in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. Holody made his MLS debut last week when he played 16 minutes in another substitute appearance against Toronto.
With this pair of games with TFC behind them the Rapids begin another home-and-home series on Friday in San Jose against the last-place Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Mark Polishuk is a contributor to
AT&T Rapids Man of the Match: Julian Baudet and Nick LaBrocca

Scoring Summary:
TOR- De Rosario 10 (Wynne 4) 19
COL- Casey 13 (Kimura 2 Cummings 12) 49
TOR- White 2 (De Rosario 4) 71
TOR- Attakora 1 (Guevara 6) 74
COL- Holody 1 (unassisted) 89
Colorado Rapids- Preston Burpo Kosuke Kimura Julien Baudet Drew Moor Jordan Harvey (Michael Holody 83) Jacob Peterson Greg Dalby Nick LaBrocca Pat Noonan Conor Casey (Facundo Diz 76) Omar Cummings
Substitutes Not Used: Steward Ceus Ty Harden Scott Palguta Ross Schunk Rob Valentino
Toronto FC- Stefan Frei Marvell Wynne Nana Attakora Nick Garcia Jim Brennan Dwayne De Rosario Sam Cronin Amado Guevara Pablo Vitti (Lesly Fellinga 68) Chad Barrett (Emmanuel Gomez 87) Ali Gerba (O'Brian White 68)
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Edwards Gabe Gala Fuad Ibrahim
Misconduct Summary:
TOR- Attakora (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 21
TOR- Barrett (caution; Dissent) 67

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Thomas Supple; Adam Wienckowski
Fourth official: Steven DePiero
Attendance: 20521