COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) — Gabriel Torres scored his second goal of the game in the 77th minute, lifting Colorado to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night that moved the Rapids into a tie for third place in the Western Conference.
Torres' left-footed shot circled into the left corner of the net two minutes after Camilo Sanvezzo had tied the game with a penalty kick that was awarded when Jordan Harvey was hauled down in the scoring area.
"Aside from a mistake, we had played so well," said Torres, who scored his second and third goals of the season. "We weren't going to let this one get away."
The Panamanian forward downplayed being motivated by Panama's recent stunning loss in a World Cup qualifying elimination game when the United States scored two goals in stoppage time.
"I put that aside here," Torres said. "This game today was not about me, but all about the team,"
Deshorn Brown added a goal for Colorado (14-10-9). Its 51 points, a franchise best, tied it with Seattle and Los Angeles in the West. The top five teams in each conference advance to the postseason.
"This win showed me so much about Gabe and the team," Colorado coach Oscar Pareja said. "To be able to bounce back the way we did after giving up the lead showed how much heart this team has."
With the game tied 1-1, goalkeeper Clint Irwin lofted a clearing pass that reached Brown at midfield. Brown pushed aside Whitecaps defender Lee Young-Pyo, faked goalkeeper David Ousted to the ground and put the ball into the back of the net.
Kekuta Manneh also scored for Vancouver (12-12-9), which had its two-game road winning streak snapped and was eliminated the Whitecaps from playoff contention.
"We got the equalizer on a penalty kick and we were in a good position," Vancouver coach Martin Rennie said. "That was an unbelievable strike by Torres. Undefendable.
"We could have defended better. The bottom line for us we haven't defended well enough. We've been scoring goals and losing 3-2."
Matt Watson had a chance to tie it in the 57th minute with a shot from the slot, but the ball cleared the cross bar.
Sanvezzo evened it momentarily with his 19th goal of the year.
Both teams had their chances in the first half. Irwin had a two-hand catch of Manneh's shot from 20 yards out in the fifth minute and Manneh then barely missed the left post in the 15th minute.
Vicente Sanchez's free kick was caught by Ousted in the 12th minute. Brown sprinted 60 yards with the ball and had his shot miss the right post in the 24th minute.
Manneh found the top right corner with a spin move and shot from just outside the box in the 32nd minute.
Colorado tied the game at 1 on Torres' penalty kick in the 41st minute. Drew Moor drew the penalty.