Rapids Defeat US U-20's 1-0 Behind Goal from Nicolas Hernandez
FORT LAUDERDALE FL (ColoradoRapids.com) - The Colorado Rapids defeated the US U-20 Men's National Team 1-0 this morning in a preseason match played at the Sunrise Hilton training fields in Ft. Lauderdale Florida.
Rapids guest player Nicolas Hernandez scored for the Rapids to give the Colorado side the victory in their first spring training match in Florida.
Playing in a match that was free and open to spectators the Rapids encoutered a young and hungry US U-20 side in a game that gave the Black & Blue a chance to field a bunch of players who are all vying for starting spots on this year's roster.
The Rapids dominated much of the match and kept the better of possession throughout the first half.
Dan Gargan was the only substitution for the Rapids in the first half coming in for Pablo Mastroeni in the 33rd minute. Mastroeni started the game in the back line alongside Mike Petke Eric Denton and Chris Wingert who was acquired this season from the Columbus Crew.
Both teams felt each other out through the first half as no real threats on goal were made by either side and the teams entered the locker rooms tied 0-0 at halftime.
In the second half Fernando Clavijo make substitutions across the board and the action picked up considerably.
Argentine Nicolas Hernandez a guest player for the Rapids drew first blood and notched what would prove to be the game-winner despite only being in the game for a total of 16 minutes.
After coming in as a sub for Jacob Peterson in the 45th minute in the 56th minute Hernandez was able to collect the ball just outside of the U-20s' box. He dribbled two players and blasted a crossing shot into the back of the net past the outstretched USA goalkeeper who was unable to redirect the shot.
Just after Hernandez's tally Head Coach Clavijo decided to take a look at a different strike force. Hernadez was subbed out and newcomer Cornell Glen came onto the field to partner up top with Jean Philippe Peguero who came in for Jovan Kirovski.
Just three minutes later the action bounced back to the other end of the pitch and Joe Cannon was forced to make a standout save to keep the Rapids in the lead. One of the U-20 forwards broke out in a 1-on-1 with the Rapids' keeper but Cannon came out to make a magnificent smothering save just 5 yards in front of his net.
Cannon had three overall impressive saves on the day helping preserve the Rapids' lead. In the 67th minute Bouna Coundoul came in the match for Cannon to take his turn between the pipes but was not overly challenged through the rest of the match.
Fabrice Noel who had come into the game for Clint Mathis in the 64th minute had the next best chance of the game about 10 minutes later when he found himself in a 1-on-1 with the USA's keeper. The young Haitian showed some fancy moves to get free but his shot went wide.
Despite some back-and-forth action for the remainder of the game neither team was able to muster a scoring effort and the match ended with the score 1-0 Rapids.
The Rapids next take on Haitian club OKAP at North Miami Stadium on the Florida International University's north campus tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. (ET). For tickets to this match fans can call (305) 981-4474.
Colorado Rapids vs. US U-20 Men's National Team
COL - Hernandez 56'
Colorado Rapids Lineup:
Joe Cannon (Bouna Coundoul 67') Chris Wingert (Jordan Harvey 68') Mike Petke (Hunter Freeman 68') Pablo Mastroeni (Dan Gargan 33') Eric Denton (Stephen Keel 68') Dedi Ben-Dayan (Colin Clark 67') Kyle Beckerman (Daniel Wasson 64') Terry Cooke (Luchi Gonzalez 67') Clint Mathis (Fabrice Noel 64') Jovan Kirovski (Jean Philippe Peguero 61') Jacob Peterson (Nicolas Hernandez 45' Cornell Glen 61')