Rapids Hold Chicago Winless All-Time at Invesco Field Wash Out Fire 1-0

DENVER (Wednesday Sept. 13 2006) – The Colorado Rapids benefited from an early own goal and held on for a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire who had been undefeated in their last 6 games.

With the victory the Rapids finished all-time undefeated against Chicago at Invesco Field compiling a 4-0-2 all-time record at home vs. the Fire at Invesco. The Rapids now add Chicago to the list (along with DC United the Columbus Crew and Chivas USA) of teams that never were able to defeat the Rapids at Invesco Field.

In the hunt for the 2006 MLS Playoffs the Rapids now trail second-place Houston by one point in the Western Conference and remain tied with Chivas USA for 3rd place; Chivas were a 1-0 winner Wednesday over FC Dallas. Colorado is five points clear of playoff outsider Real Salt Lake and six points clear of the Los Angeles Galaxy who host the Rapids on Saturday.

Matt Crawford who nearly was put on the season-ending injured reserve list a month ago played 86 minutes in his first action since June 11 2005 and attacker Alain Nkong lasted 79 minutes in his first start of the season.

Colorado got on the board first in the third minute behind a Jim Curtin own goal. Nicolas Hernandez was crossing the ball to Thiago Martins when Curtin went to slide the ball out but instead it popped it right into the Chicago goal.

In the 12th minute Kyle Beckerman almost grabbed his seventh goal of the year. Off a set piece Hernandez put in a cross that found Beckerman on the back post. The Maryland native’s header was only stopped by a diving Matt Pickens who managed to fist the ball out of bounds.

Hernandez had his third quality centering pass in the 27th minute. In a hustling effort on the left he got to the ball just before it crossed the endline and still found Martins in the penalty area. The Brazilian’s header bounced across the face of the goal and out of bounds for a Fire goal kick.

Nate Jaqua nearly put in the equalizer in first half stoppage time. His header off of a set piece went over the Rapids goal.

Martins had another opportunity to extend the lead in the 63rd minute. He rose to meet a corner kick and when he headed the ball down it ended up bouncing up over the goal.

A dangerous cross in the 67th minute was punched out by Cannon and then cleared out by Mike Petke.

Cannon had to make his best save of the evening in the 70th minute on a hard shot from just inside the penalty area. Cannon sprawled to his left to gobble up the ball.

The Rapids get return to action this weekend when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Galaxy in an important Western Conference battle on Saturday Sept. 16 at 8:30 p.m. (MT).

Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Joe Cannon

Scoring Summary:
COL – Own Goal (Curtin) 3

LINEUPS:

Colorado Rapids – Joe Cannon Hunter Freeman Mike Petke Aitor Karanka Matt Crawford (Chris Wingert 86) Kyle Beckerman Pablo Mastroeni Alain Nkong (Jacob Peterson 79) Nicolas Hernandez Jovan Kirovski (Terry Cooke 65) Thiago Martins
Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul Eric Denton Clint Mathis Daniel Wasson

Chicago Fire – Matt Pickens C.J. Brown Jim Curtin (Ryan Johnson 85) Gonzalo Segares Diego Gutierrez (Floyd Franks 65) Thiago Nate Jaqua Tony Sanneh Justin Mapp (Brian Plotkin 46) Andy Herron Chris Rolfe
Substitutes Not Used: David Mahoney Leonard Griffin Dasan Robinson Jordan Russolillo

Misconduct Summary:
COL – Mastroeni (Caution) 32
CHI – Jaqua (Caution) 55

Referee: Tim Weyland
Referee's Assts: Morgante; Michael Salyers
4th Official: Ramon Hernandez
Attendance: 3805