Colorado Rapids benefit from Tony Cascio breaking out of sophomore slump in nick of time vs. Montreal

Sure, luck played a big part in it. And sure, it’s just one goal.

But for Tony Cascio and the Colorado Rapids, Saturday’s game-winning goal in a 4-3 win in Montreal may have been the most important goal the 23-year-old has ever scored in his life. 

In the 95th minute, the Rapids took advantage of a sloppy Impact turnover. Defender Chris Klute charged upfield and his attempted pass to Deshorn Brown was blocked, but Cascio followed the play and ripped a deflected shot that skipped past Impact 'keeper Troy Perkins to give Colorado three huge points. The win also stopped a three-game losing streak.

“After a game like Chicago that I had coming in, getting that pressure off my back feels great,” Cascio said on Saturday. “It was just a team effort, coming in and getting that chance. The team set me up three-to-three, the ball came to my feet and I shot it.”

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There’s little doubt it’s been a tough year for the second-year man out of the University of Connecticut. After starting 18 games and playing in 29 in a mostly successful rookie campaign, the versatile midfielder/forward has only played in 10 games all season (three starts), frequently struggling to even make the 18-man game day roster.

In a 2-1 loss to Chicago on June 19, Cascio missed a point-blank opportunity to tie the game late in regulation as his effort went off the post, the lowlight of an already down year.

But Saturday’s goal was a key point of redemption for the Arizona native, who Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said has earned another look due to hard work in practice.

“[Saturday] was a demonstration that the game will reward you when you do what you have to do,” Pareja said. “This was a great moment for the team and for Tony.”

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Now, Cascio faces the task of turning that clutch goal into momentum for not only himself, but for his team as well.

“Coming in, the team was feeling down with the past three away trips and to come back with a win," Cascio said. "I think we’re going to get some momentum for the next [three] games at home."

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.