Herculez Burns Former Team as Rapids Defeat Galaxy 1-0

COMMERCE CITY (Saturday May 26 2007)- The Colorado Rapids rode a Herculez Gomez goal and a Bouna Coundoul shutout to defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy 1-0 in front of a sold-out record crowd of 18458 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

(To watch video highlights from this match click here).

With the win over LA the Rapids continued their dominance over their Western Conference foes in the Centennial State; the Rapids are now 13-7-3 all-time vs. LA at home and have kept the Galaxy without a regular-season win in Colorado since 2002.

Herculez could not have scripted his first game against his former team any better.In a performance befitting his namesake Greek legend Herculez’s dominance showcased a bicycle kick among other things and was capped off by a second half goal which lifted the Rapids over the Galaxy.

The first few minutes of the game were spent in the midfield as both teams spent the opening feeling out each others’ game plans and strategies.It wasn’t long after that when the Galaxy first threatened the Colorado net as Landon Donovan created the first significant opportunity of the night.

In the seventh minute Galaxy midfielder Kyle Martino sent a ball into the box which bent around the Rapids’ defense and onto the head of a diving Donovan.The U.S. National Team player nodded a soft shot into the hands of standing Rapids goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.

The next opportunity came the Rapids’ way a minute later when a cross from the right side connected with midfielder Jovan Kirovski.Kirovski sent his header just over the crossbar from the penalty spot keeping the game scoreless.

Things heated up on the pitch in the 25th minute when Los Angeles midfielder Kyle Martino took down Herculez from behind.The slide tackle which caught the Las Vegas native by surprise resulted in a red card for Martino and forced LA to play a man down for the remainder of the contest.

The Rapids still have yet to trail heading into halftime of a game so far this season and this trend continued as they entered the half 0-0 for the third time this season.

The Rapids dominated most of the first half out-shooting the Galaxy 6-1.As the second half began Colorado looked to continue their dominance on the offensive end of the field.In the 63rd minute a Nicolas Hernandez shot destined for the lower right side of the net was kicked out by the toe of LA goalie Joe Cannon.The rebound however remained in danger as Herculez sent a header just over an empty net.

Herculez looked to atone for his mistake only minutes later when he took a cross from Terry Cooke and with a nod of his head stroked the ball past a frozen Cannon and into the lower left side of the net.Herculez’s goal which put the Rapids up 1-0 marked the ninth time in the last 10 games that the Rapids have scored the first goal of the match.

With the lead in hand the Rapids continued to pour on the offensive pressure.Only minutes after Herculez’s goal the speedy forward found himself behind the LA defense once again.Passing up a header Herculez opted for the bicycle kick which sailed off his right foot and wide of the net.

Coundoul completed his third shutout of the season his first at home with two great saves in the waning minutes. First he dove to the right and steered away a Nate Jaqua shot with his fingertips. Then LA looked to capitalize on a rare opportunity late in second half stoppage time.But Coundoul gathered in a header from 10 yards out from Donovan which sealed the game for the Rapids and gave them the 1-0 win.

Colorado will next travel north of the border as they take on Major League Soccer’s newest franchise Toronto FC in a 1:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be broadcast live on Altitude Sports and Entertainment.
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Herculez Gomez

Scoring Summary:
COL- Gomez (Cooke Mastroeni) 71

Lineups:

Colorado Rapids – Bouna Coundoul Ugo Ihemelu Pablo Mastroeni Mike Petke Chris Wingert Terry Cooke Kyle Beckerman Jovan Kirovski (Jose Cancela 54) Nicolas Hernandez Roberto Brown (Conor Casey 60) Herculez Gomez (Daniel Wasson 79)

Substitutes Not Used: Zach Thornton Dan Gargan Nick LaBrocca Jacob Peterson

LA Galaxy-Joe Cannon Nathan Sturgis Ty Harden Tyrone Marshall Ante Jazic Nate Jaqua Kevin Harmse Peter Vagenas (Robbie Findley 75) Kyle Martino Landon Donovan Santino Quaranta (Cobi Jones 46)

Substitutes Not Used: Steve Cronin Ian Russell Kyle Veris Mike Randolph Josh Tudela

Misconduct Summary:
LA- Martino 25 (ejection)

COL-Gomez 27 (caution)

COL-Beckerman 37 (caution)

LA- Jaqua 69 (caution)

COL- Mastroeni 78 (caution)

COL-Wasson 82 (caution)

COL- Casey 92 (caution)


Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referees Assts.: Emiliano Monje

Fourth Official: Kyle Borne

Attendance: 18458