There was absolutely no reason why the Colorado Rapids should not have gone into Toronto FC and won their match on Saturday, but isn't that a storyline we've heard over and over before? Against horrendous TFC teams in the past, they always managed to lay an egg at BMO Field. This time around, they had the advantage of facing off against a TFC squad missing, in my opinion, their four best field players: Micheal Bradley, Jermain Defoe, Alvaro Rey, and Jonathan Osoiro.
Pablo Mastroeni went with his diamond 4-4-2 once again after seeing some success against the Vancouver Whitecaps, and though it was a bit more settled than last time, there was still a bit of slop right from the start of the match. The muddled midfield combined with a lot of wind and a pitch that could charitably be called "patchy" made for a lot of missed passes and slow play from both sides. Neither team scored a goal in the first half, and the argument could be made that neither really deserved one.
It was the same sort of first half that we've seen from pretty much every Rapids game this season. Exciting at times, but with the Rapids seemingly feeling their way into the game. The Rapids did create a few chances through Gabriel Torres and Edson Buddle, but never managed to test Julio Cesar all that much.
The majority of the matches we've seen this year have also featured somewhat ugly starts to the second half, and that came to pass as well. Toronto dominated the first several minutes after the break but, despite a glut of set pieces provided to them, were unable to beat Clint Irwin. Pablo then took his 4-4-2, which had possessed the ball but not created quite enough, and made two quick substitutions that changed the game. Deshorn Brown came in for Torres, and Dillon Serna came in for Nathan Sturgis.
Immediately after Brown came in, the Rapids became the more dangerous team. The Serna substitution finally gave the offense the spark they needed to break through. Nice little passing moves had come multiple times from the Rapids during the game, but they finally got the big one they needed in the 77th minute. Thomas Piermayr provided the initial spark with a pacy run up the wing and a long cross that found Serna, who worked the ball into the box to Dillon Powers. At the byline, Powers made a lovely touch into the middle, where Edson Buddle was waiting to score his 99th career goal.
There were a few nervy moments as the game closed out as Toronto got a few desperation chances, but the Rapids had chances themselves to make it 2-0 through Serna and Brown. The Buddle goal eventually proved to be all they needed as the crossbar and the post killed off TFC's best chances.
Now at 3-1-1, the Rapids are second in the Western Conference and have another home match to get some revenge against the bottom-feeding San Jose Earthquakes next weekend.