Rapids Play to 2-2 Draw in Exhibition Against Real Salt Lake

LAUDERHILL FL (Friday February 22 2008) – The Colorado Rapids faced a familiar opponent Friday night but this time the teams met over 2000 miles away from their normal battle grounds.
In an exhibition match at CentralBrowardRegionalPark in Lauderhill Florida the Rapids earned a 2-2 tie against Rocky Mountain Cup rival RealSaltLake.

The Rapids had the first opportunity of the game in the 12th minute. Terry Cooke aimed his corner kick to the near post where Niko Hernandez met it with his head but the shot went just wide.

Paced by a strong defensive effort Colorado goalkeeper Justin Hughes made his first save of the night in the 15th minute when he smothered a shot from Andy Williams.

The Rapids opened the scoring off a free kick in the 19th minute when Cooke took the restart from the side of the penalty area and found Facundo Erpen who headed it into the net.

Colorado continued to pressure the SaltLake back line with Omar Cummings just missing in the 22nd minute and Hernandez seeing his shot saved in the 23rd.

In the 36th minute Colin Clark broke behind the Real defense after a give-and-go from Hernandez but his shot went just wide.

The Rapids gave up their first goal of the preseason as SaltLake scored in the 40th minute. RSL's Yura Movsisyan took a pass from Nathan Sturgis and beat a defender and Hughes before easily tapping the ball into the open net.

Colorado regained the lead in the 52nd minute through first round draft pick Ciaran O’Brien. Jovan Kirovski played a perfect pass to the rookie at the top of the 18-yard box. The UC-Santa Barbara product took one touch and then fired in the go-ahead goal.

In the 60th minute Christian Gomez who was signed by the Rapids earlier this month made his first appearance for Colorado and played the rest of the game in the center of the midfield and paid instant dividends helping create many chances for the Rapids.

SaltLake found a second equalizer in the 81st minute. Fabian Espindola took a free kick from 19 yards out that deflected off the Rapids' wall and past Bouna Coundoul.

Scoring Summary:
COL – Erpen (Cooke) 19

RSL – Movsisyan (Sturgis Joy) 40

COL – O’Brien (Kirovski) 52

RSL – Espindola (unassisted) 81

Misconduct Summary:

COL – DiRaimondo (Caution) 15

RSL – Morales (Caution) 37

Lineups:

Colorado Rapids: Justin Hughes (Bouna Coundoul 45) Kosuke Kimura (Brandon Prideaux 45) Facundo Erpen (Cesar Zambrano 45) Stephen Keel (Jordan Harvey 45) Jose Luis Burciaga Jr. (Chase Hilgenbrinck 45) Terry Cooke (Nico Colaluca 45) Nick LaBrocca (Brian Grazier 45) John DiRaimondo (Ciaran O’Brien 45) Colin Clark (Scott Campbell 45 Christian Gomez 60) Omar Cummings (Jacob Peterson 45) Niko Hernandez (Jovan Kirovski 45)

Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando (Chris Seitz 45) Ian Joy (Tony Beltran 60) Nat Borchers (Dustin Kirby 60) Matias Mantilla (David Horst 60) Chris Wingert (Craig Ziadie 60) Kenny Cutler (Matias Cordoba 60) Javier Morales (Kevin Reiman 60) Nathan Sturgis Andy Williams (Alex Nimo 60) Robbie Findley (Fabian Espindola 45) Yura Movsisyan (Indra Daud 45)