Toronto FC show rare display of finish
Attakora notches winner in huge 3-2 decision over Colorado
Toronto FC kept their playoff hopes alive Saturday, scoring a pair of second-half goals in a span of three minutes en route to a 3-2 win over the visiting Colorado Rapids.
Major League Soccer's leading scorer, Conor Casey, quieted the gathering of 20,521 at BMO Field with his 13th goal of the season in the 49th minute, but Toronto regained the lead for good on goals by O'Brian White and Nana Attakora.
Attakora's goal in the 74th minute was the first in his MLS career.
The win moved Toronto into fourth spot in the Eastern standings with a 9-9-7 record for 34 points, one more than New England for the final playoff position. The Revolution visit Chivas USA on Sunday.
"It's in our hands — we're good enough to make the playoffs, I do believe that," said Toronto head coach Chris Cummins, whose squad has yet to play a post-season contest in its three-year existence.
Time, though, is not on the side of the Reds who, with five games left, are in a seven-way dogfight for the final four post-season berths.
Dwayne De Rosario's 10th goal of the campaign in the 19th minute was the first for Toronto in four games.
A ball into the box from the right side found the Reds forward with no room to manoeuvre and two Rapids defenders between him and the goal.
Improved ball control
He deftly tipped the ball in the other direction, created some space, spun on his left foot and fired a right footer up and past the left shoulder of keeper Preston Burpo.
"We were moving the ball a lot sharper," De Rosario said. "From side to side and moving the ball with pace and also moving the ball forward to create scoring chances. It's nice to see us score off set pieces. Hats off to Stefan again. He comes up with another great save on a breakaway with his foot."
Attakora picked up a yellow card for impeding Nick LaBrocca in the 21st minute. LaBrocca made a show of it, going down and that possibly influenced the call.
Casey answered De Rosario's score in the 49th to pull the Rapids even before the half, using his height advantage to out-nod defender Nick Garcia. It was passive defending by Toronto with Marvell Wynne backing off the play and goalkeeper Stefan Frei electing to stay on the line.
White made an immediate impact coming in as a substitute in the 68th, making it 2-1 by lifting a shot over Burpo into the far corner in the 71st minute.
"It definitely did bring a spark," said White, a native of Toronto. "But you have to give a lot of credit to the guys who started because they set the pace, working for each other for the entire game."
Attakora outjumped two defenders to extend the lead on a beautiful header off an Amado Guevara corner kick before the Rapids' Michael Holody made it a one-goal game with his first goal in his second MLS game.
Frei stands tall
In the 77th minute, Toronto keeper Stefan Frei needed to make a leg save on Nick LaBrocca who was in alone.
"We didn't make it easy on ourselves, giving up two easy goals," De Rosario said. "But I'm pleased with the way the guys played and fought back into the game. It's nice to see Obie come in and contribute with a goal."
Despite the victory, Cummins had reasons to be concerned.
"We're disappointed a little, although we got the three points, because we gave two poor goals away," Cummins said. "We talked about stopping crosses. Everything we spoke about at halftime went out the window."
Carl Robinson was set to start for Toronto at midfield but turned an ankle in warmup.
Guevara, fresh off a plane from World Cup qualifiers, took Robinson's spot in the lineup.
Newly signed designated player Julian De Guzman did not play because the formality of the necessary paper work had not come through.
Toronto defender Adrian Serioux and midfielder Amadou Sanyang were suspended for the game because of red cards they picked up in last week's game in Colorado.
With files from The Canadian Press