Lowly Rapids snatch late tie with Toronto FC
Armando Cooper sat disconsolately at his locker after Toronto FC’s 1-1 tie with the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night, hand on his head as he stared down at his phone.
Veteran defender Drew Moor gave him a pat as he went by. Acting coach Robin Fraser did the same. Cooper didn’t respond either time.
The Panamanian midfielder was no doubt reliving the 76th-minute giveaway that led to a Dominique Badji goal and the Rapids’ first point on the road this Major League Soccer season as Colorado snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat.
Cooper, who had come on three minutes earlier when Jay Chapman hobbled off, attempted a pass that bounced off a Colorado player to Alan Gordon. One pass later, Badji held off defender Chris Mavinga and beat goalkeeper Clint Irwin low to the corner with a left-footed shot.
Cooper, who has had an up-anddown season in 2017, may have been the last TFC player to touch the ball on the goal but his teammates had their chances to put the game away after Chapman gave Toronto a 1-0 lead just five minutes into the game with his first ever MLS score.
Fraser acknowledged that turnovers are momentum killers. But he refused to point the finger.
“Everybody has giveaways, everybody has bad moments,” said Fraser. “Everybody has things that lead to goals. It’s not like that moment defines them.”
“It was just not us at our best,” he said of the Toronto showing.
Fraser ran the sideline in the absence of Greg Vanney, who was serving a one-game ban after being ejected midweek in New York.
With third-place New York City FC defeating second-place Chicago 2-1 earlier in the day, Toronto (11-3-7) missed an opportunity to pad its lead to four points atop the Eastern Conference. TFC, which now leads the Fire by two points, hosts NYCFC next Sunday.
On the plus side, Toronto remains unbeaten at BMO Field this season (7-0-3). Colorado (6-11-2) improved to 0-7-1 on the road this season thanks to just its third away goal of 2017.
“We knew it was going to be a difficult place to play,” said Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni, whose team had not played since July 4. “I just thought that the response in the second half was fantastic, after a bit of a sluggish first half and getting our feet in there with a couple weeks of not playing.”
The offensively-challenged Rapids had done little to threaten Toronto prior to Badji’s goal before a loud crowd of 28,060.
Toronto outshot Colorado 15-9 but, like the Rapids, only managed to put four on target.
“There were a couple of chances we didn’t take advantage of but I don’t think we created enough chances,” said Toronto defender Eriq Zavaleta. “And then we fell asleep with a turnover.”
Fans booed loudly as one Colorado player after another went down injured after the tying goal, leading to five minutes of tense injury time.
Colorado Rapids defender Kortne Ford, left, and FC forward Sebastian Giovinco battle for the ball during second-half Major League Soccer action in Toronto on Saturday. The teams played to a 1-1 draw.