By JUSTIN FERGUSON
The Colorado Rapids could have folded when their early lead evaporated in the final minutes of the second half.
They could have folded when the Montreal Impact, who were undefeated at home in MLS play this season, took the lead again in the 73rd minute.
They could have closed up shop after their 77th-minute equalizer and been content with ending their three-match losing streak with a hard-fought road draw.
But the Rapids kept up their attack all the way to the final whistle.
Colorado scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time on Saturday evening to pull off a stunning 4-3 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo.
Second-year player Tony Cascio, who came on for Edson Buddle in the 89th minute, ripped a shot from outside the box that deflected off a sliding Patrice Bernier and into Troy Perkins’s goal for the winner.
Cascio’s last-second goal was a fitting finish to an already wild evening in Montreal, where both sides went back and forth for the majority of the match.
Atiba Harris broke the scoreless deadlock in the 24th minute, sending a looping header from Dillon Powers’s free kick over Perkins and into the side of the net.
Montreal continued to plug away at the visitors and found the lead heading into the locker room. When Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin whiffed on a chance to punch a corner kick out of the box, Hassoun Camara was able to flick the ball up and knock an overhead kick into the open net for the equalizer—all while lying on the ground.
Then, after Buddle’s shot struck the post on the other end, Marco Di Vaio put Daniele Paponi in on goal with a perfect through ball. Paponi then struck a beautiful curling shot that Irwin had no chance of stopping, and Montreal took a 2-1 lead into the break.
Colorado battled back from the disappointing end to the first half and found an equalizer just before the hour mark. Nathan Sturgis found some space down the wing and played a low cross in for Powers, who slipped through a ball-watching Impact back line. Powers scored with a one-time finish to bring the match level.
Davy Arnaud proved that it was a great night to be a substitute in the 72nd minute as the midfielder, seeing his first action since a May 1 concussion against Toronto, set up Paponi’s second with a well-placed cross.
Deshorn Brown continued the substitute party five minutes later. The rookie forward did not quit on the play after his initial shot was blocked, and he soon found himself on the end of a Chris Klute cross. Brown thundered home the volley, and it looked like the Rapids were going to escape Montreal with one point.
That one point turned into three just seconds before the final whistle. Klute launched a counter attack after a great slide tackle on Arnaud, and his cross for a streaking Brown was clipped out by Camara.
But the Camara’s next deflection proved costly, and the Rapids were soon celebrating their stunning road win.
Colorado (6-7-5) will be back at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Thursday for an Independence Day battle against the New York Red Bulls. Montreal (9-4-2), still leaders of the Eastern Conference, visit Toronto for an all-Canada clash the day before.
Here are the match highlights: