COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) – With the Colorado Rapids struggled to score goals this season, Edson Buddle gave them the boost they’ve been looking for against Toronto FC.
Buddle scored in the 86th minute to lead the Rapids to a 1-0 victory on Saturday night.
“We’ve had opportunities,” Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. “Too many games where we didn’t score and accomplish what we wanted.”
That might have changed with the insertion of Buddle at halftime.
“He gives us a scoring presence in the box we haven’t had,” Pareja said of Buddle, who was acquired from Los Angeles last Dec. 14.
After finding the ball just outside the crease when Toronto defender Logan Emory gave it up, Buddle easily scored into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
“The ball just popped up in the air,” said Buddle. “It came to me and all I had to do was put it into the net.”
Toronto goalkeeper Joseph Bendik, who made three saves, had the best view of the play.
“The ball came in, Darren O’Dea challenges for us and, hits off Logan and somehow finds it way in,” he said. “I haven’t kept count, but we’ve had a few games like this.”
Colorado (3-4-3) has scored four goals in its past five games, though the Rapids have been outscored 9-8 overall this season.
Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin outplayed Bendik to improve to 3-2-2 with three shutouts since taking over for the injured Matt Pickens.
Toronto (1-4-4) has lost consecutive games after tying four straight, and dropped to 0-3-1 on road. Toronto had a four-game unbeaten streak against Colorado, losing to the Rapids for the first time since April 18, 2010.
Toronto FC (1-4-4) has lost consecutive games after tying four straight games. The team remained winless, 0-3-1 on road.
“We have had a high performance from our team,” Toronto coach Ryan Nelsen said. “Things have gone fantastically wrong. We make a mistake and that’s soccer.”
The teams traded quality scoring chances in the first half. Bendik came well out of the crease to stop a shot by Nick LaBrocca in the 11th minute.
Moments later Irwin came up big for the Rapids. Robert Earnshaw broke free for a shot from the high slot and Irwin got enough of the ball to slow down its progress and defender Christopher Klute beat two Toronto players to get to it before they got a chance to tip it in the 14th minute.
Irwin stopped a left-footed shot by Earnshaw in the 18th minute and then escaped Toronto’s best chance of the game in the 29th minute as Ryan Richter’s cross set up Earnshaw with a wide open net from inside the penalty box but Earnshaw’s shot sailed into the stands.
Bendik lunged to block a shot ticketed for inside the right post by Dillon Powers in the 43rd minute.
Irwin got help from Shane O’Neill in the 61st minute as he got in the way of Luis Silva’s shot from 20 yards out.
The game remained scoreless when Colorado’s Martin Rivero deflected a shot over the crossbar in the 64th minute. Nathan Sturgis’ free kick went over the crossbar in the 66th minute.
Earnshaw missed another chance in the 84th minute.
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