Rapids Can't Find Answer Against Defending Champions

COMMERCE CITY COLO. (Saturday October 4 2008) – The Colorado Rapids suffered their first loss in over a month as the two-time defending MLS champion Houston Dynamo captured a 3-1 win Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
(To watch free video highlights from the match click here)!
The Rapids still remain alive in the race for the playoffs despite the loss. Following all MLS action Saturday night Colorado find themselves occupying the eighth and final playoff spot giving them a wild card position with three regular season games remaining.
The action came early and often with all four of the match’s goals being scored in the first 19 minutes.
Houston opened the flurry in the second minute when Brian Ching intercepted a Preston Burpo clearance. Ching was able to seize the opportunity battling his way through two defenders to chip the ball over Burpo as he rushed back into the play.
The Rapids quickly answered with their only score of the night in the seventh minute as Conor Casey knocked in his fourth goal in the last two games off a Colorado corner kick that the Dynamo could not clear from danger.
Houston regained the lead for good two minutes later when Ching scored his second goal of the night. Brad Davis sent a free kick from just outside the box on target as Ching was able to finish his own header that had rebounded off the crossbar.
The Dynamo scoring ended when Ricardo Clark fired a low shot to the near post from just inside the penalty area that hit the back of the net in the 19th minute.
The second half was all Colorado as the Rapids dominated the offensive end of the pitch but could not draw the score any closer. The Rapids out-shot the Dynamo 12 to 2 in the second half and saw a 7 to 1 advantage in corner kicks (12 to 2 for the entire match).
Defensively Burpo did his part to keep Houston off the board in the second half. Following a Mike Petke tackle in the box on Davis the referee awarded the Dynamo a penalty kick. Burpo came up with the diving save to his left as Ching was unable to convert.
The Rapids found themselves playing a man down for most of the second half when Casey received his second yellow card of the contest in the 53rd minute.
Colorado worked their way into several scoring opportunities including shots that rebounded off the crossbar from Omar Cummings and Terry Cooke.
Cooke had the Rapids' final scoring chance of the night when he pushed a penalty kick wide left.
Colorado head out next week for back-to-back trips to Los Angeles starting with a third and final regular season match against the LA Galaxy on Saturday October 12 at 6:00 pm MT at the Home Depot Center. The Rapids then return to The Home Depot Center on October 19 to face Chivas USA.
Scoring Summary:
HOU- Ching (unassisted) 2
COL- Casey (unassisted) 7
HOU- Ching (Davis) 9
HOU- Clark (Ching Mullan) 19
Lineups:
Colorado Rapids-
Preston Burpo Kosuke Kimura Cory Gibbs Mike Petke (Ugo Ihemelu 58) Jordan Harvey Terry Cooke Mehdi Ballouchy (Jacob Peterson 62) Pablo Mastroeni (Nick LaBrocca 84) Colin Clark Conor Casey Omar Cummings
Substitutes Not Used: Jose Burciaga Jr. Christian Gomez Bouna Coundoul Greg Dalby
Houston Dynamo- Pat Onstad Richard Mulrooney Patrick Ianni Eddie Robinson Wade Barrett Brian Mullan (Corey Ashe 64) Ricardo Clark Dwayne De Rosario Brad Davis Brian Ching (Chris Wondolowski 84) Kei Kamara (Nate Jaqua 72)
Substitutes Not Used: Tony Caig Geoff Cameron Mike Chabala Craig Waibel
Misconduct Summary:
COL- Casey (Reckless Foul) 33
COL- Casey (ejection; Second Caution) 53
HOU- Jaqua (Tactical Foul) 73
Referee: Mark Geiger
Referees Assts.: Chris Strickland; Corey Rockwell
Fourth Official: Ben Chouaf
Attendance: 12496