COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- It was the same gut-wrenching script, just on a different night for Toronto FC on Saturday night.
For the fourth straight MLS game, the Reds conceded a costly late goal, and this time it was a brutal 86th minute defensive blunder that allowed Rapids striker Edson Buddle to fire home from close range to give Colorado a 1-0 win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.
Toronto’s Logan Emory slipped in his own box trying to defend a cross, and the unfortunate mistake gave the substitute Buddle enough time to blast the ball into the net for his first goal in a Rapids uniform.
The game appeared destined for a scoreless tie until Emory’s mistake gifted Colorado the full share of the points and allowed the Rapids to rocket up the standings.
Colorado moved into the fifth spot in the Western Conference with their third win of the season despite missing several starters to injury, once again. Toronto stays in a tie with Chicago for the penultimate spot in the East, stuck on seven points.
The Rapids held the advantage in possession (60-40) and attempts on goal (13-12), but several early misses nearly cost them the three points.
The Rapids put the pressure on early and nearly came up with a goal in the 10th minute. Kamani Hill’s cross into the box found Nick LaBrocca all alone right in the middle of the box, but the veteran midfielder hesitated and shot right at a charging Joseph Bendik, who came up with the big early save for Toronto.
Two minutes later, and Robert Earnshaw should’ve nabbed the opener for the visitors, but Rapids ‘keeper Clint Irwin came up with a diving stop and smothered the rebound. Earnshaw also fired high in the 29th minute right in front of goal.
With Colorado struggling to finish chances, the Rapids brought on injury-plagued striker Edson Buddle at the break and shortly afterward introduced playmaker Martin Rivero.
Rivero nearly scored in the 64th on a diving volley in the box, but his effort just sailed high over Bendik’s crossbar.
OPTA Chalkboard: Rapids use entire width of field in possession during match
The visitors, however, nearly exploited an offensive-minded Luis Silva’s long-range effort in the 71st minute, which required Irwin to be alert and tip Silva’s blast over the crossbar, setting up Emory’s blunder and Buddle’s heroics 15 minutes later.
Toronto will wrap up a busy spell by traveling straight to San Jose for Wednesday’s clash with the Earthquakes (10:30 p.m. ET, watch on MLS Live), while the Rapids hit the road for a showdown in Columbus next Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET, watch on MLS Live).
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Edson Buddle||The second half sub gave the Rapids a focal point in the attack, and his first goal for his new club gave Colorado three points|
|2||Clint Irwin||Another strong night from the rookie, with four saves and another claim to be the permanent starter for the Rapids|
|3||Joe Bendik||Was unlucky not to get first career shutout, as his early save on Nick LaBrocca set the tone for the match|