TORONTO – For the first time all year, the Colorado Rapids have earned a point away from home, and they did so in the unlikeliest of settings.
Dominique Badji’s goal in the 76th minute secured a 1-1 draw for the Rapids with Toronto FC on Saturday at BMO Field, snapping Toronto’s seven-match winning streak at home.
Jay Chapman recorded his first goal for TFC after just five minutes, but despite registering 15 attempts, the Reds could not extend their lead and the Rapids took advantage through Badji’s strike.
TFC looked menacing all game long, and capitalized on its first clear-cut chance of the night. Victor Vazquez fed a ball into the box for Sebastian Giovinco, who chipped it over Colorado goalkeeper Zac MacMath. The shot-stopper managed to sprawl across the line to save Tsubasa Endoh’s attempt, but Chapman got his head on the rebound.
Chapman ended up leaving the game after 73 minutes for Armando Cooper after suffering a cramp. Cooper gave away the ball which led to Colorado’s equalizer just moments later.
The game was feisty at times, especially after Badji was on the receiving end of a hard two-footed challenge by Chris Mavinga. The defender was booked, though he could have easily been sent off for the tackle.
Axel Sjoberg – making his return to MLS play after a three-game absence – was also quite physical and eventually drew a yellow card of his own as well.
Both sides were missing a few key players due to injuries and international call-ups. However, the Rapids entered Saturday’s match with just two goals in their last eight road matches dating back to last season. Shkelzen Gashi is still recovering from an Achilles injury. Gashi has dealt with the issue since the pre-season and is clearly missed up front.
TFC was without Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, who are with the U.S. Men’s National Team. Six changes were made to Toronto’s lineup after facing New York City FC on Wednesday. Goalkeeper Tim Howard is also on duty with the USMNT and Bobby Burling was injured, which, along with Gashi, are big losses for the Rapids.
With the Chicago Fire losing 2-1 to 10-man New York City FC on Saturday afternoon, Toronto stays on top of the Supporters’ Shield standings despite the draw. TFC has 40 points, while Chicago and NYCFC are on 38 and 37, respectively.
Man of the Match
He was not on the scoresheet, but Victor Vazquez was sublime again. The midfielder was constantly finding space and kickstarting attacks from every position on the pitch.
Moment of the Match
The match took a 180-degree turn after Armando Cooper coughed up possession, allowing Dominique Badji to convert past Clint Irwin.
Match to Forget
No one had a strong showing from a Rapids point of view, but Axel Sjoberg was especially sluggish. Sjoberg was also too physical and it nearly cost him on a few occasions.