Gabriel Torres couldn’t have been blamed if his game would have suffered this weekend, just days after seeing his Panamanian National Team be eliminated from World Cup qualifying in dramatic fashion. But rather than sulk, Torres stepped up and delivered an important two-goal performance to help his Colorado Rapids move a step closer to their own cup competition.
Torres scored a pair of goals, including a 77th-minute game-winning strike, to help lead the Rapids to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. The win pushed Colorado four points clear of San Jose for the final playoff spot in the West, and the loss eliminated the Whitecaps from playoff contention.
An Earthquakes loss or tie versus the LA Galaxy on Sunday will secure Colorado a place in the playoffs.
The Whitecaps started Saturday’s match in promising fashion when rookie Kekuta Manneh struck a beautiful opening goal in the 32nd minute, but Colorado responded with a Torres penalty kick after Drew Moor was hauled down in the penalty area.
Rapids rookie Deshorn Brown made it 2-1 Rapids in the 51st minute when he raced onto a long Clint Irwin goal kick and chipped a shot over Whitecaps goalkeeper David Ousted.
Vancouver responded in the 75th minute through Camilo Sanvezzo’s penalty kick. Rapids defender Shane O’Neill brought down Jordan Harvey in the penalty area, setting up Sanvezzo with his 19th goal of the season.
Torres answered just two minutes later with a left-footed wonder strike from distance that left Ousted no chance, and gave the Rapids a vital victory.
Here are the match highlights: