Rapids Jump Into 1st Place in West and MLS With Win Friday Night

DENVER CO (09-10-04)- The Colorado Rapids grabbed their second straight home win and moved into first place in all of MLS for the first time this season with a convincing 3-1 win over the Kansas City Wizards in front of 11986 fans at INVESCO Field at Mile High.

Despite falling behind for the second straight match the Rapids replied with a first half equalizer and a pair of second half goals to extend their unbeaten streak now to five games.

The win improves the Rapids' record to 10-7-9 (39 points) making them the second club to reach 10 wins in MLS this season and moves the club into first place in the Western Conference ahead of the Wizards who fall back into second place one point behind Colorado with the loss.

The Rapids nearly grabbed the lead within the game’s opening five minutes when Jean Philippe Peguero got on the end of a cross from Antonio de la Torre and beat Bo Oshoniyi with a header from inside the six-yard box. However the Haitian forward was ruled to be offside and the game remained scoreless.

But it would not be long before the game’s first goal was scored as Josh Wolff put the Wizards ahead 1-0 in the 11th minute. Taylor Graham played a long ball over the top of the Rapids defense for Josh Wolff who raced into the box one-on-one with Cannon. The Rapids 'keeper came out to cut down Wolff’s angle but the Wizards forward touched it around Cannon forcing Cannon to pull him down and give the Wizards a spot kick. Wolff stepped up to take the kick and beat Cannon who guessed correctly low to his right giving K.C. a 1-0 lead.

Kansas City would not hold onto the lead for long as the Rapids equalized just 13 minutes later with a penalty kick of their own. Jean Philippe Peguero got free inside the box on the right only to be taken down by Shavar Thomas leaving referee Michael Kennedy no alternative but to point to the spot for the second time on the night. Mark Chung stepped up to take the PK and slammed it past Oshoniyi to tie the score at 1-1 in the 24th minute.

The Rapids thought that they had climbed in front again in the 42nd minute but Peguero had his second goal of the night called back for offside. Jordan Cila dribbled through the heart of the Kansas City defense and laid the ball off for Peguero who had drifted just inside the box and behind the final defender. Peguero settled the ball and curled a right-footed shot over Oshoniyi who was off his line and into the far side of the net only for it to be overruled for offside.

The Rapids finally did go ahead early in the second half when Jordan Cila grabbed his fourth goal of the season in the 60th minute. John Spencer played the ball across to Chris Henderson at the left corner of the box. Henderson twisted away from his marker and played a cross to the near post for Cila who settled the ball and fired a powerful strike to beat the Wizards keeper from six yards out giving the Rapids their first lead of the night at 2-1.

Spencer nearly doubled the Rapids' lead just seven minutes later when he got open inside the K.C. box only to see his right-footed volley parried away by Oshoniyi.

The game’s deciding moment came in the 81st minute when Cannon was again judged to have pulled Wolff down in the box giving the Kansas City striker his second PK of the night although video replays showed that Wolff had stepped on Cannon to initiate the contact not the other way around. As he did the first time Wolff took the kick and tried to put it low to Cannon’s right but the Colorado keeper guessed right again and made the save keeping the Rapids in front much to the delight of the Rapids bench and the crowd who gave Cannon a standing ovation following the game's lead-saving stop.

With their lead still intact the Rapids put the game out of reach in the third minute of the declared 5-minute stoppage time when Kyle Beckerman scored his first goal of the season. The Rapids caught Kansas City on a quick counterattack with Peguero racing down the right flank. He played a square ball across the top of the box for Seth Trembly who played it out to Beckerman on the left. The midfielder who had come on for John Spencer just minutes earlier cut inside and curled a shot to the far post past Oshoniyi’s stretch giving the Rapids a 3-1 advantage. The goal was just the second of Beckerman’s career and came exactly four years and one day after his last strike on September 9 2000 when he played for the Miami Fusion. Beckerman then earned a yellow card as he celebrated in unique style uprooting the corner flag as several of his teammates joined him in a mock kayak-rowing celebration in front of the Rapids' faithful.

The Rapids return to action on Saturday September 18 when they travel to Foxborough MA to take on the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium at 5:30 p.m. (MT) live on MLS Direct Kick. Colorado does not return home until the penultimate game of the season on Saturday October 2 when they host the San Jose Earthquakes at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for this game and all other Rapids home matches are on sale now. Call 303-825-GOAL for more information.

Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Joe Cannon

Scoring Summary:
COL – Chung (Penalty Kick) 24’; Cila (Henderson Spencer) 60’; Beckerman (Trembly Peguero) 92+
KCW – Wolff (Penalty Kick) 11’

LINEUPS:
COLORADO RAPIDS— Joe Cannon Antonio de la Torre (Ricky Lewis 80’) Nat Borchers Ritchie Kotschau Matt Crawford Pablo Mastroeni Jordan Cila (Seth Trembly 80’) Mark Chung Chris Henderson Jean Philippe Peguero John Spencer (Kyle Beckerman 87’).

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Chung 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 12 (Cila 3); FOULS: 21 (Peguero 6); OFFSIDE: 5; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 4 (Cannon 4); CAUTIONS: Mastroeni 18’; De la Torre 52’; Beckerman 92+; EJECTIONS: None.

KANSAS CITY WIZARDS— Bo Oshoniyi Jose Burciaga Jr. Jimmy Conrad Shavar Thomas (Francisco Gomez 46’) Taylor Graham (Diego Walsh 85’) Nick Garcia Diego Gutierrez Kerry Zavagnin Matt Taylor (Igor Simutenkov 65’) Davy Arnaud Josh Wolff.

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Arnaud Wolff 4) SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Wolff 4) FOULS: 13 (Arnaud Burciaga Jr. 3) OFFSIDE: 5 CORNER KICKS: 1 SAVES: 9 (Oshoniyi 9) CAUTIONS: Conrad 42’ EJECTIONS: None.

Misconduct Summary:
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Dissent) 18
KC -- Jimmy Conrad (caution; Reckless Foul) 42
COL -- Antonio de la Torre (caution; Dissent) 52

COL-- Kyle Beckerman (caution; delay of game) 92+

Referee: Michael Kennedy.
Referee's Assistants: Robert Fereday David Bragg.
4th Official: Hector Tobon. Attendance: 11986.
Temperature: 75 degrees and partly cloudy.