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Sport24.co.za | Late penalty lifts Rapids over Galaxy

Los Angeles – Nicolas Mezquida converted a penalty in the 85th minute to lift the Colorado Rapids to a wild 2-1 Major League Soccer victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday.

A furious finish at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver saw Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett break a 0-0 deadlock in the 79th minute, nodding in a header off Jack Price’s cross.

Three minutes later, Giancarlo Gonzalez soared to head in a corner and make it 1-1.

But the Rapids gained a chance from the spot for Mezquida after first-year forward Andre Shinyashiki was brought down in the box.

For most of the match, it was down to Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham and his opposite number Clint Irwin, who combined for 16 saves.

There was controversy in second-half stoppage time, when Galaxy forward Cristian Pavon was shown a red card after trying to win the ball near the corner flag – a punishment reduced to a yellow card upon video review.

With the defeat, the Galaxy finished the night in eighth place in the Western Conference standings, one point behind FC Dallas for the seventh and final MLS Cup playoff spot.

A victory could have moved them as high as third in the crowded conference.

In the Eastern Conference, New York City FC and Toronto split the points with a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium, where both teams extended their unbeaten streaks to six games.

New York’s Romanian forward Alexandru Mitrita rifled a free kick past the wall and into the top corner from 20 yards out to open the scoring in the sixth minute.

Toronto equalized in the 40th with a penalty from Alejandro Pozuelo after Sebastien Ibeagha pulled down Jozy Altidore in the box.

Toronto missed a chance to go up 2-1 as Pozuelo’s second spot-kick of the night was denied by Sean Johnson in the 78th.

That was after New York had seen a chance to go ahead go begging in the 70th, when Ronald Matarrita’s long-range effort bounced off the post.

New York’s appeal for a penalty in stoppage time – after forward Taty Castellanos was bloodied by a swipe from Toronto’s Chris Mavinga was denied.

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