TFC's win streak continues

Toronto FC midfielder Fuad Ibrahim celebrates his goal against the Colorado Rapids during their...

Toronto FC midfielder Fuad Ibrahim celebrates his goal against the Colorado Rapids during their game in Toronto on July 10, 2010. (REUTERS/Mike Cassese)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:33 PM ET

They are still putting the “off” in offence, but TFC’s unbeaten streak continues.

One goal was all the team needed in a 1-0 triumph over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.

The Reds have now gone eight league matches without a loss, despite hitting the back of the net only 10 times in that stretch.

Fuad Ibrahim’s 61st-minute beauty held up, despite a furious rally in extra time by the Rapids.

It took four clearance attempts by TFC before the ball was finally hoofed away safely. Seconds later, Stefan Frei had to lunge to turn aside another potential equalizer.

Defender Nana Attakora said those were some tense moments.

“Last year we gave away the most goals in the last 15 minutes of games (in MLS), but (head coach) Preki has us organized,” Attakora said.

“We don’t think about it.”

As has been the case of late, the Reds struggled to create much offence until Dwayne De Rosario fired a 31st-minute drive that beat keeper Matt Pickens but sailed over the net.

Toronto did not manage a shot on goal in the half, while Colorado had one, which was stopped by Frei.

The proceedings finally opened up in the second half. Right off the bat, Colorado got a great chance after an Adrian Cann giveaway. Omar Cummings was denied by a diving Frei, who solid as always throughout.

Nick Labrocca replied minutes later for TFC, beating Danny Earls but not goalie Pickett, who deflected the ball on to the top of the net.

It was the 50th minute and TFC’s first shot on goal. Newcomer Maicon Santos, in for a sub-par O’Brian White, had sent LaBrocca in alone. De Rosario got another shot off, but it was low and easily stopped by Pickett.

The Reds kept the pressure on, breaking through again, only to be denied by Pickett, who grabbed a hard De Rosario shot.

Colorado finally got a chance in the 58th minute, when Cummings’ header — like many of TFC’s opportunities — sailed high.

Ibrahim was a most unexpected culprit to score the only goal of the match.

It was his first strike since the final game of the 2008 season.

Barrett sent a nice ball in, Ibrahim took the ball off his head, gained control and right-footed it past a helpless Pickett. Ibrahim had assisted on Dan Gargan’s tying goal a week earlier.

“You have to keep working hard and take advantage of your chance,” Ibrahim said.

“These are three big points.” Indeed, TFC moves five points up on fourth-place Chicago and moves within three of New York and a guaranteed playoff spot.

The Rapids turned the tide after the Ibrahim strike. De Rosario and Frei both made good plays to turn aside corner kicks and Frei just got a hand on a clever attempt by Claudio Lopez.

Not beautiful

Not a beauty, but a win nonetheless.

“They fought and were committed,” Preki said.

“When you fight like that, you get rewarded.”

Chad Barrett was replaced by Gabe Gala in the 70th minute. Barrett last scored May 29th against San Jose - also the last time the then red-hot De Rosario connected. Toronto has scored only twice in five matches since, but has not lost any of them.

Brazilian Maicon Santos showed flashes in his TFC debut.

He set up a good chance by LaBrocca, later pounded a shot that Pickett had to be good on to stop and came close to finishing another opportunity.

With Spanish standout Mista set to be unveiled next week, Toronto might finally be able to start putting goals on the board again.

That would certainly make continuing this unbeaten streak easier.


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