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Wiedeman lifts Toronto FC to 2-1 win over Rapids
TORONTO (AP) Newly acquired forward Andrew Wiedeman lived up to his billing Wednesday, helping Toronto FC continue its revival under Paul Mariner.
"A finisher, that's always been my strong suit," the 22-year-old Wiedeman had said before his home debut in Toronto. "So if I get a half-chance I'm looking to take it and tuck it away."
Wiedeman did just that, scoring in the 67th minute to give Toronto a 2-1 win over the slumping Colorado Rapids before 18,225 at BMO Field.
It was his first MLS goal in his 10th career game - and his second as a substitute since coming to Toronto in the deal that sent midfielder Julian de Guzman to FC Dallas last Friday.
"Definitely a poacher's goal," Wiedeman said afterward.
Coming in on the back of victories over New England and Vancouver, Toronto (5-11-4) is now riding its first three-game win streak since April 2008.
Colorado (7-12-1) has lost four straight and six of the last seven, with all six defeats coming by one goal. It also marked the fourth time this season the Rapids have lost after opening the scoring, second only to Montreal (five).
Fullback Doneil Henry started things on the go-ahead goal in the 68th minute. Beating a defender in the corner, he sent the ball toward the box and, after rookie Luis Silva swept it toward goal, Wiedeman poked it in.
"He just has an eye for a goal," said Mariner, a former England international. "I saw it in training last week in New England. When he was shooting on goal, that kid didn't miss.
"I've been told he's probably one of the best finishers in MLS. But he's been behind some very, very good players in Dallas."
Colorado went to the dressing room up 1-0 on Conor Casey's goal in the 23rd minute, despite being repeatedly carved open in defense by Toronto.
"I gave them both barrels at halftime," Mariner said. "I think we could have been a couple of goals up after 10 minutes."
Jamaican international Ryan Johnson, making up for a flubbed penalty in the third minute, replied for Toronto (5-11-4) in the 51st.
Toronto now has 19 points and is now just nine points out of the fifth and final playoff spot in the East.
Toronto is 4-2-4 under Mariner - after a 1-9 start under former manager Aron Winter - despite playing those 10 games in 32 days, with six of them on the road.
Wednesday's game was the seventh for Colorado (1-6 with all the losses by one goal) over the same time period.
The contest was the first for Toronto since leading scorer Danny Koevermans tore knee ligaments in Saturday's 1-0 win in New England. The designated player is not expected to be back until next May.
Mariner moved Silva up front with Johnson. Eric Avila returned to the lineup in midfield.
The absence of Koevermans' finishing touch was evident early.
Johnson hit the outside of the post on a third-minute penalty after Silva was clumsily hauled down as he collected a Henry through ball and danced past goalie Matt Pickens with former TFC defender Marvel Wynne trying to catch up on the play.
Johnson also was wide on a header in the sixth minute.
It was a nightmare start for Colorado, which was repeatedly carved open at the back. But Toronto could not take advantage and the Rapids regained their footing.
The Rapids had their first chance in the 18th minute when Brian Mullan hammered a long-range right-footed rocket off the post.
Five minutes later, Casey put the visitors ahead after a nice give-and-go off a Rapids throw-in. It was the 50th MLS career goal for Casey, who appeared in two games for Toronto in 2007 before moving to Colorado.
Johnson pulled Toronto even after Silva found him with a short pass following some woeful Colorado defending. Johnson calmly angled the ball past Matt Pickens for his fourth goal of the season.
"A beautiful little flick over their defender and then a really nice little tap-in to finish it off, was a quality goal," Mariner said.
NOTES: Colorado wore black armbands to honor Marisa Colaiano, its senior manager of community relations. She died Tuesday as a result of complications from multiple sclerosis ... With Terry Dunfield wearing No. 23, Wiedeman opted to wear 32 for Toronto.
Updated July 18, 2012