Open Cup Qualifying: One Down One to Go

CARSON CA (Tuesday May 27 2008) – The Colorado Rapids moved one step closer to qualifying for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy tonight at the Home Depot Center.

A heads-up play from Ciaran O’Brien started the goalscoring play late in the second half. The rookie took a quick free kick from the middle of the field in the 82nd minute and found Terry Cooke wide on the wing. The Englishman then put the ball right on Conor Casey’s head for the go-ahead goal.

Colorado will now take on the Kansas City Wizards next Wednesday June 4 2008 in another play-in game. Kickoff for that match will be at 6 p.m. MT at ShawneeMissionNorthHigh School in Overland Park Kan. The winner will then join the Open Cup in the third round in a game scheduled to be played July 1.

The Rapids started the game with just three of the same starters from their game on Saturday against Chivas USA. Colorado also had a new formation as they played a 4-4-2 for just the third time this season.

New Rapids goalkeeper Preston Burpo was forced into his first save of the night in the third minute. The newest member of the Rapids tipped a Stephen Keel header over the crossbar and out for a corner.

Edson Buddle nearly put Los Angeles on the board in the seventh minute but Keel cleared the chipped shot off the line after Burpo tipped the ball on its way through.

In the 10th minute Casey had Colorado’s first shot but his left footed effort went wide of Steve Cronin’s near post.

Mike Randolph hit the side netting in the 29th minute as Burpo dove toward his near post to cover the headed shot.

Casey had another scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute when he touched a free ball in the penalty area but then he was shielded off the ball while Cronin scooped it up.

Burpo had another unconventional save in the 36th minute. Buddle took a shot from 23 yards out that hit the post and then went off the keeper’s back before sneaking outside the post for a corner kick.

Colin Clark forced the first save out of Cronin in the 38th minute. Clark received a pass from Tom McManus at the top of the penalty area and took a shot with his left foot that Cronin stopped while diving to his right.

Carlos Ruiz hit a shot from the midfield stripe that sailed over an outstretched Burpo but hit the bottom of the goalpost in the 42nd minute.

The teams headed into halftime tied and Fernando Clavijo’s speech in the locker room definitely encouraged his side to shore up their defensive responsibilities.

A Galaxy corner kick in the 63rd minute nearly opened the scoring but Buddle headed the ball into the side netting.

Again in the second half Casey had a dangerous scoring chance for the Rapids. In the 74th minute the Denver South High grad took a low angle shot that deflected of a couple of Galaxy players and trickled across the face of goal. A minute later he nearly caught Cronin off guard with a cheeky flick but the goalie was up to the challenge and dove on the headed ball.

In the 81st minute Casey again had the goal in his sights when he headed a Cooke free kick on goal however Cronin was there once again.

After the goal Colorado’s defense held through the final eight minutes of regulation and more than four minutes of stoppage time to advance in their quest to reach the Open Cup.

Scoring Summary:
COL – Casey (Cooke) 82

Lineups:
Colorado Rapids – Preston Burpo Kosuke Kimura Rafael Gomes Stephen Keel Jordan Harvey Terry Cooke (Herculez Gomez 90+) Nick LaBrocca Mehdi Ballouchy Colin Clark (Ciaran O’Brien 70) Conor Casey (Cesar Zambrano 88) Tom McManus (Omar Cummings 68)
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Graczyk Tim Ward Brian Grazier

Los Angeles Galaxy – Steve Cronin Ante Jazic Sean Franklin Abel Xavier Chris Klein Ely Allen (Mike Randolph 45+) Peter Vagenas Brandon McDonald (Josh Tudela 72) Alan Gordon Edson Buddle Carlos Ruiz (Israel Sesay 63)
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Wicks Mike Randolph Greg Vanney Troy Roberts Bryan Jordan

Misconduct Summary:
COL – McManus (Caution) 12
LA – Allen (Caution) 41
COL – LaBrocca (Caution) 49
LA – Gordon (Caution) 67
COL – Gomes (Caution) 70
COL – Cooke (Caution) 90

Referee: Jasen Anno
Referees Assts.: Emiliano Monje Frank Anderson
Fourth Official: Ian Anderson