Jovan Kirovski scores as Rapids fall to China 2-1 in International Friendly

Commerce City CO (Sunday June 10 2007)- A goal from acting captain Jovan Kirovski was not enough to propel the Rapids to victory Sunday night against the Chinese National Team at Dick's Sporting Goods Park as Colorado dropped the international contest against China after a second half goal and assist from Beijing Guoan midfielder Wang Dong.

Early action was dominated by long balls from both sides with neither team coming away with a promising chance. Errant crosses and hotly contested passes were the highlights of the first 11 minutes.

The first real action of the match came at the Rapids' end of the field. The first opportunity for China was produced in the 12th minute when Hao Junmin made a fantastic run into the box that resulted in a rolling shot that was easily scooped up by Zach Thornton.

China came away with a pair of fantastic chances in the 17th minute when the ball fell to Dong Fangzhou inside the eighteen-yard box. Two quick close-range shots from the Manchester United forward were parried away expertly by the large frame of Thornton.

After dominating play early China decided to test Thornton once again in the 18th minute.Wang Dong found himself in space 40 yards from goal and made the best of it. He sent the long range shot towards goal with power and accuracy forcing Thornton to use all of his 6’1" height to punch the ball over the net and out of play for a corner.

Finally in the 20th minute a beautiful chip from Nick LaBrocca produced the first real chance of the game for the Rapids. The ball fell to the left side of the box for Colin Clark who did well to take down LaBrocca’s pass but sent a shot over the goal and into the crowd.

But the Rapids would not have to wait long to be rewarded for their attacking efforts. In the 22nd minute Terry Cooke played a ball to Nicolas Hernandez at the top of the box who slipped a pass through the legs of Zahng Baofeng to Jovan Kirovski. The captain’s brilliantly timed run allowed him to place a cool finish past Chinese goalkeeper Yang Jun to put the Rapids up 1-0.

After the goal the game shifted back into the midfield with neither team connecting passes in the attacking third for some time. There wasn’t much action for the rest of the half except for a free kick won by Zhang Shuai that was sent well wide and high by Zhao Xuri.

In the second half China was quick to respond to Kirovski’s goal. A 53rd minute corner kick fell to the grass in front of the Rapids goal. The ball was not cleared and Wang Dong put it into the back of the net with authority.

Only four minutes after tying the game China scored again when Dong picked up a pass from Wang near midfield and took it on a long run to slot it past Thornton in the opposite corner of the net.

In the 63rd minute Fernando Clavijo decided to give goalkeeper Justin Hughes his first chance to play in a Rapids kit. The club's third string goalkeeper had yet to play in any contest before Sunday night.

A pair of free kicks later in the half yielded chances for the Rapids. A shot from Kirovski at the top of the box and an Omar Cummings header were both high of the Chinese goal.

LaBrocca produced the Rapids' best chance of the second half in the 89th minute when he powered a 25-yard effort inches over the crossbar.

The Rapids will return to MLS play when they take on Chivas USA this Saturday June 16 at the HomeDepotCenter in CarsonCA. The game will be broadcast live by Altitude and will kickoff at 8:30 p.m. MT.
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Jovan Kirovski

Scoring Summary:
COL- Kirovski (Hernandez Cooke) 22

CHN – Wang (unassisted) 53

CHN – Dong (Wang) 57

Lineups:

Colorado Rapids – Zach Thornton (Justin Hughes 63) Kosuke Kimura (Dan Gargan 72) Stephen Keel Chris Wingert (Jose Cancela 75) Jordan Harvey Terry Cooke Nick LaBrocca Daniel Wasson (Kyle Beckerman 69) Colin Clark (Jacob Peterson 67) Nicolas Hernandez (Omar Cummings 46) Jovan Kirovski
Substitutes Not Used: Conor Casey John DiRaimondo Brandon Prideaux

Chinese National Team – Yang Jun Zhang Shuai (Li Yan 46) Ji Mingyi Zhao Xuri (Qu Bo 46) Xin Feng Li Tie (Cao Yang 68) Hao Junmin (Zheng Bin 22) Zhang Yaokun Wang Dong Zhang Boafeng (Xu Yunlong 46 (Wang Peng 83)) Dong Fangzhouo (Du Wenhui 88)

Substitutes Not Used: Chen Dong Zong Lei

Misconduct Summary:
COL- Beckerman (Caution) 70

CHN Zheng (Caution) 79

CHN Qu (Caution) 86

CHN- Li (Caution) 89

Referee: Fotis Bazakos

Referees Assts.: Dion Telting Matt Grove

Fourth Official: Scott McCaslin