TORONTO – Fuad Ibrahim knocked in the winner from close range in the 61st minute as Toronto FC defeated the Colorado Rapids, 1-0, on a sunny, cloudless day at BMO Field.
The win extends Toronto's two-month-plus MLS undefeated string to eight games (11 in all competitions). It is also the first win in their current homestand, following consecutive draws against Kansas City, Los Angeles and Houston. For the Rapids, the loss ends the team’s undefeated streak at six games.
Ibrahim scored for Toronto in the 61st minute, cleaning up a sloppy defensive play in the Colorado area. Chad Barrett's cross was originally met by defender Danny Earls, but he failed to finish the clearance. Ibrahim pounced on the loose ball and neatly buried his shot beyond Pickens.
It was Ibrahim’s first goal on the season. The assist was also Barrett's first on the year.
Toronto carried play in the opening half, with Dwayne de Rosario pushing hard on both wings. De Rosario got a good look at goal on the half hour, firing just high and wide off from distance. He collected a pass from Dan Gargan and ripped a rocket that put a scare into the Rapids backline.
But Colorado’s Conor Casey answered a few minutes later, sliding in the six-yard box to deflect Kosuke Kimura's low cross just wide of Frei's right post.
Toronto coach Preki looked to boost his struggling attack at halftime, bringing in newly acquired ex-Chivas USA striker Maicon Santos to replace White.
The move didn’t lead directly to the goal, but the TFC offense did seem to find more space. Barrett, in particular, floated wide more often, and he had space to play the cross in that Ibrahim eventually finished.
However, after the goal, Colorado took control of the match, chasing the equalizer. An onrushing Casey laid a perfect pass to Cummings in the 65th minute, but Frei dove to keep the visitors off the scoreboard.
Maicon Santos got his first chance in a Toronto uniform on 70 minutes, stealing the ball from a disorganized group of four defenders at the top of the Colorado penalty area, and humming a shot over the bar. He had another opportunity three minutes later, saved by Pickens off a deft set-up pass from De Rosario.
Minutes later, Colorado sub Claudio Lopez volleyed from well out on the left side, forcing Frei to fingertip the ball over the crossbar. And in stoppage time, a mad scramble in the Toronto penalty area, with three different Colorado attackers hacking at a loose ball, nearly leveled the score.
But it was not to be and TFC picked up another three points to move closer to Eastern Conference second-placed New York. Colorado remain in third in the West, pending results later on Saturday.
TOR -- Fuad Ibrahim 1 (Chad Barrett 1) 61
TOR -- Dan Gargan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 20
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Danny Earls (Scott Palguta 63), Wells Thompson (Claudio Lopez 76), Pablo Mastroeni, Omar Cummings, Jeff Larentowicz, Jamie Smith (Colin Clark 55), Conor Casey.
Substitutes Not Used: Quincy Amarikwa, Michael Holody, Ross LaBauex, Ian Joyce.
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Nana Attakora, Dan Gargan, Adrian Cann, Maksim Usanov, Dwayne De Rosario, Nick LaBrocca, Martin Saric (Maicon Santos 46), Fuad Ibrahim, Chad Barrett (Gabe Gala 69), O'Brian White (Nick Garcia 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Ty Harden, Jacob Peterson, Joseph Nane, Jon Conway.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar; Referee's Assistants: Thomas Supple; Peter Manikowski; 4th Official: Geoff Gamble
Time of Game: 1:54