COMMERCE CITY CO (ColoradoRapids.com) - The Colorado Rapids silenced their critics and continued their re-invigorated form as of late sending a strong message to the rest of the teams in the league as they defeated their second straight MLS conference leader this time an anemic New England Revolution 3-0 tonight at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
(To view video highlights from this match click here
The Rapids controlled possession from the get-go dominated play throughout the entire match and were never threatened by New England.
With the win the Rapids kept the Revolution winless in Colorado for the last half-decade; New England still have not won a game in the Centennial State since June of 2002.
Jovan Kirovski put the Rapids ahead in emphatic fashion early on in the 10th minute. Colin Clark headed a Terry Cooke cross back in front of the goal to Conor Casey who had his shot blocked by Matt Reis. The rebound fell to Kirovski who made no mistake in slamming home his fourth goal of the season.
New Rapids signing Tony Sanneh made his first appearance for Colorado in the 22nd minute coming on for defender Dan Gargan who went down with an injury and had to be stretchered to the sideline.
In the 36th minute Clark was fouled outside the box earning a free kick for the Rapids 25 yards from goal. Kirovski stepped up and hit it just over the crossbar.
Clark earned a penalty kick for the Rapids in the 40th minute in fantastic fashion. First rounding Andy Dorman outside the area he cut into the box and got past Jay Heaps only for the Revolution defender to throw out a leg and knock him to the ground. Referee Jorge Gonzalez immediately and correctly ruled for a penalty kick. Kirovski blasted it into the upper right corner giving Reis absolutely no chance of saving it and burying his third penalty kick goal of the year for the Rapids' 2-0 lead.
It was all Rapids in the first half with Colorado out-shooting New England 9-1. Colorado remained in control in the second half and Kirovski nearly completed his hat trick in the 64th minute. The former Champions League winner took a left-footed shot from 20 yards out that bounced off the far post of the Revolution goal and was barely cleared by New England.
Clark kept the pressure on rounding a series of defenders in the 64th minute taking the ball into the area between defenders and drawing Reis out of the goal before taking a shot from near the goal line hitting the side of the net to end a dramatic drive.
The young midfielder from Ft. Collins stayed dangerous taking a pass from substitute Cummings in the 72nd minute after Cummings ran down the ball in the left corner saving a goal kick and setting up another threat. Clark was tripped as he drove for the goal setting up a direct kick from the corner of the box but the Rapids couldn't direct his cross toward goal.
New England had their only real scoring opportunity of the match in the 71st minute. Taylor Twellman headed a free kick wide of the Rapids' open net from the far post.
Bouna Coundoul made his first and only save of the game in the 73rd minute. Twellman hit a tricky shot that Coundoul blocked with a quick save falling to his left.
Omar Cummings stretched the Rapids' lead to 3-0 in the 76th minute with his first career MLS goal. The Jamaican widely considered the fastest player in MLS one-timed a Clark through ball out of the air in world-class fashion after burning the Revolution defense with his speed.
Clark was in the middle of the action again when Pablo Mastroeni played a through ball to the Fort Collins native who slid it behind Parkhurst to Casey. Casey unleashed a blast that was blocked by Reis but the rebound fell to Cummings. Keen to get the second goal of his MLS career the striker took a hard shot only to be stopped by a great reflex save from Reis.
In the 87th minute Clark came out of the game to a standing ovation from a crowd that continued to chant his name even after he left the field.
The win brought Colorado within two points of Columbus for the eighth playoff spot and made for an impressive first two games in their critical three-game homestand
The Rapids will conclude their three-game home stand next Sunday August 26 when they take on David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy another team that have not won a regular-season game in Colorado since 2002. The game will kick off at 5 p.m. and will be televised by Altitude Sports and Entertainment.
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Colin Clark
Colorado Head Coach Fernando Clavij "Things are coming together but its only two games. We know who we are. We have to keep fighting. We haven’t achieved anything by just getting out of the hole. That is the history of the league but this will give us the right momentum going forward at a crucial time in the season. It has never crossed anyone’s mind on this team that we would not make the playoffs but it is going to be difficult. I thought we played the best soccer of the year today. We created chances we controlled at the back we managed the game well and for the first time in the last ten games we could relax."
Colin Clark: "We will celebrate this win for an hour but next Sunday we have LA coming in and it’s another game at home for us with good fans and another chance to run a team into the ground and get a good result. We are happy but we know there is a long way to go."
Jovan Kirovski: "The team played really well from the first minute. Tonight was a great night for us. We are not afraid of anybody. The last two games we have played the best teams in the league and we’ve beat them both. We need to win the next game we are still out of the hunt a little bit and we need the three points at home."
Revolution Head Coach Steve Nicol: "We really didn’t come to play today. When you come in at halftime two-nil down and you are playing away from home you’re climbing a mountain. When things are going well maybe you think you can just turn up and every now and then you get a kick on the backside. Today we didn’t turn up ready to win the fight at the start."
Revolution player Jeff Larentowicz: "We came out slow the Rapids jumped on us at home. We were not fully prepared mentally to counteract them at home. Uncharacteristically over the last couple games we have had a couple mental lapses and the Rapids jumped on their opportunities."
COL – Kirovski (unassisted) 10
COL – Kirovski (penalty kick) 41
COL – Cummings (Clark) 76
Colorado Rapids – Bouna Coundoul Brandon Prideaux Facundo Erpen Mike Petke Dan Gargan (Tony Sanneh 23) Colin Clark (Jacob Peterson 87) Pablo Mastroeni Mehdi Ballouchy (Omar Cummings 58) Terry Cooke Jovan Kirovski Conor Casey
Substitutes Not Used: Zach Thornton Niko Hernandez Jose Cancela Daniel Osorno
New England Revolution – Matt Reis Jay Heaps Michael Parkhurst Avery John Jeff Lorentowicz (Gary Flood 87) Shalrie Joseph Andy Dorman Wells Thompson (James Riley 45) Khano Smith Pat Noonan (Adam Cristman 26) Taylor Twellman
Substitutes Not Used: Doug Warren Kyle Helton Marshall Leonard
NE – Smith (Caution) 36
NE – Joseph (Caution) 42
COL – Prideaux (Caution) 71
COL – Sanneh (Caution) 92+
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referees Assts.: Corey Rockwell Bill Dittmar
Fourth Official: Ben Chouaf