TORONTO (Sports Network) – The Colorado Rapids won the Major League Soccer Cup, 2-1, in extra time over FC Dallas at BMO Field in Toronto on Sunday night.
Conor Casey, the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player, and Mac Kandji scored goals for the Rapids to propel them to the first league championship in franchise history.
For the second straight season, an low seed won the MLS championship, with the Rapids earning the seventh seed in the second season. Colorado’s Rocky Mountain rivals Real Salt Lake won the title last season as the eighth seed.
Kandji scored the game winner in the 108th minute after the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes of regulation soccer.
Kandji, who came on as a substitute for Omar Cummings in the 98th minute, played the ball through the legs of Dallas defender Jair Benitez on the right side of the penalty area before poking a ball toward the far post. Unfortunately for the Hoops, the ball deflected off the knee of defender George John and into the net for the 2-1 advantage for the Rapids.
Kandji was injured on the play, forcing his team to play down a man the remaining 12 minutes of extra time, with goalkeeper Matt Pickens making huge saves on John and Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty in the closing seconds to preserve the win.
The game’s first real action came just before the half-hour mark when Casey was tripped by Benitez after an exchange between the two in the Dallas penalty area. Referee Baldomero Toledo didn’t call a penalty as the game remained scoreless.
David Ferreira, who was named the MLS MVP on Friday, gave the Hoops a 1-0 advantage in the 35th minute to further infuriate the Colorado faithful.
Benitez started the chance with a long, looping switch from the left side to striker Marvin Chavez. Chavez then played a perfect service into the six-yard box to Ferreira, who volleyed home after making a run between the two center backs.
That was how the score stayed until Casey equalized in the 57th minute. The Colorado goal was started by winger Jamie Smith, who sped around defender Zach Loyd on the left side of the penalty area before playing a low cross into the six to a sliding Casey. The ball hit a defender and Casey poked it in from the ground to tie the game at one.
Colorado narrowly missed going up 2-1 in the 62nd minute when a Jeff Larentowicz free kick from distance was saved by Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, who had to dive to his left to get his fingertips on the hard shot to knock it out of bounds.