Colorado snatches late tie with Toronto FC

Colorado 1 Toronto FC 1

TORONTO — Dominique Badji’s 76th-minute goal gave Colorado a 1-1 tie with Toronto FC on Saturday night, earning the Rapids their first point on the road this season

The tying goal came after a giveaway near midfield by substitute Armando Cooper with the Senegal-born Badji beating goalkeeper Clint Irwin with a low shot to the corner.

Up until then, Jay Chapman’s fifth-minute goal had looked to be enough to give Toronto a comfortable eighth straight home victory.

The offensively-challenged Rapids had done little to threaten Toronto prior to Badji’s goal. The home side had chances to add to its lead but failed to take advantage before a loud crowd of 28,060.

Most booed loudly as one Colorado player after another went down injured after the tying goal, leading to five minutes of tense injury time. There was a minor skirmish deep in stoppage time as Toronto substitute Tosaint Ricketts challenged the latest Rapids player to flop down.

League-leading Toronto (11-3-7) remains unbeaten at BMO Field this season (7-0-3). It has lost just once in its last six league outings (3-1-2).

Colorado (6-11-2) improved to 0-7-1 on the road this season thanks to just its third away goal of 2017.

TFC was bolstered by the return of striker Sebastian Giovinco and defender Nick Hagglund.

Giovinco had been questionable, after a lower back bruise that forced an early exit in Wednesday’s 2-2 tie at New York City FC. Hagglund had been out since May 13 when he tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in a collision with goalkeeper Alex Bono.

Bono was given the night off, with Irwin — a former Colorado player — making his fifth league start of the season.

Toronto assistant coach Robin Fraser ran the sideline in the absence of Greg Vanney, who was serving a one-game ban after being ejected in New York.

The Rapids came into the game having lost three of their last four. Things don’t get any easier for Colorado with six of its next eight games on the road.

Chapman opened the scoring in the fifth minute to cap off a goalmouth scramble triggered by a Giovinco ball into the box from the byline after a fine pass from Victor Vazquez. Goalkeeper Zac MacMath clawed away a Tsubasa Endoh shot but could not stop the Chapman header that followed.

Chapman thought he had got his first MLS goal midweek only to see it waved off for offside.

The Canadian midfielder had a glorious chance at the start of second half to double his tally but ballooned his shot high.

Colorado striker Kevin Doyle had a good chance in the 66th but Irwin gathered in his downward header on a second attempt

The game bounced between scrappy and ill-tempered, with six-foot-seven Colorado centre back Axel Sjoberg and five-foot-four Giovinco at odds early on.

Toronto defender Chris Mavinga was lucky in the 27th minute when he escaped with a yellow card for scything down Badji in an eye-for-an-eye foul. Toronto was upset that Badji had not been penalized seconds earlier for a hipcheck on Raheem Edwards.

Sjoberg was eventually yellow-carded in the 44th minute for taking down Vazquez.

TFC was without captain Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Justin Morrow, all with the U.S. team at the Gold Cup. Fullback Steven Beitashour is returning from pancreas surgery.

Toronto lost acting captain Benoit Cheyrou in the 38th minute with a potential calf injury after a clash of legs in a tackle.

TFC fullback Ashtone Morgan came on in the 69th minute for his 100th regular-season appearance. Chapman hobbled off the pitch soon after.

Colorado was also without two designated players in goalkeeper Tim Howard (Gold Cup) and Albanian international forward Shkelzen Gashi (calf). Defenders Bobby Burling (foot) and Mekeil Williams (suspended) were also unavailable.

Colorado had been off since July 4.

Lack of offence has been Colorado’s problem this season. The Rapids came into the game 21st in goals scored and 22nd in shots and shots on goal in the 22-team league.

A group of Toronto supporters in the south stand wore white “No Argos at BMO” T-shirts. They had been told prior to the game that their “No Argos at BMO Field” sign was no longer welcome.

The club said it made the request out of respect to broadcaster TSN, which airs both MLS and CFL games.

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