Los Angeles CA (Sunday October 14 2007) - The Colorado Rapids played the role of the chupacabara today handing Chivas USA their first home loss this season with a convincing 2-1 victory despite being reduced a man for the second straight game.
In the process the Rapids kept themselves in contention for the MLS Playoffs with just one game remaining in the regular season.
(To view video highlights from this match click here).
Despite being a man down the Rapids were able to do what no other team has been able to do all year long -- beat Chivas on their home field. The Rapids also put an end to Chivas' 11-game unbeaten streak.
With the win the Rapids edged closer to eighth and final playoff spot. However they will still need to win their final match -- at home against Real Salt Lake this coming Saturday October 20th -- and hope that other results fall their way next weekend as well.
Bouna Coundoul made the first save of the game in the first minute when he dove to his left and blocked a Maykel Galindo shot.
Terry Cooke took the first shot of the game for the Rapids in the third minute of action. The Englishman’s left-footed effort from 25 yards from goal went wide right of Brad Guzan’s net.
The Rapids were unable to convert on a counterattack in the 14th minute. Terry Cooke sprinted to a clearance and played the ball up to Jose Cancela who played Colin Clark behind the defense. Guzan came out to force Clark too wide to shoot. The Fort Collins native played the ball across the goal to Cooke but his shot was deflected out for a corner kick.
Kosuke Kimura deflected a Jonathan Bornstein shot in the 25th minute out for a goal kick with the US international bearing down on goal.
A Jose Cancela free kick in the 33rd minute was headed for the back of the net until a defender stuck his foot in the way and deflected it over the goal. The restart was won when Kimura was taken out by Claudio Suarez just outside the penalty area.
FortLewisUniversity product John Cunliffe had an opportunity for Chivas USA in the 38th minute but Coundoul came out to parry the shot away.
The Rapids were reduced to ten men for the second game in a row when Brandon Prideaux was issued the first red card of his MLS career in the 46th minute when he took down Galindo who was charging behind the defense and Prideaux was the last defender.
Suarez had an excellent opportunity to put Colorado down when the ball fell to his feet off of a 54th minute corner kick. Coundoul made the save as he dove to his right and smothered the ball.
Ugo Ihemelu picked a great time to score his first career goal in the 64th minue. After flicking a Cancela free kick to Conor Casey on the back post he jumped up from a prone position just in time to bang home the rebound off of Casey’s shot to put Colorado up 1-0.
Coundoul came up with one of his best saves of the season in the 67th minute when he made a diving fingertip stop on a Bornstein header.
Chivas USA tied the game in the 78th minute when Sacha Kljestan lifted a ball to Orlando Perez who slid his shot under Coundoul.
The Rapids retook the lead and kept themselves alive in the playoff chase in the game’s final minute. Casey fought a defender down the touchline until he finally broke away in a fantastic display of strength and physical effort.
The Denver South grad then took the ball all the way to the end line where he expertly drew out Guzan out of his goal and played a cross across the 6-yard box to Omar Cummings who tapped in his second goal of the year to seal the victory for the Rapids.
The Rapids now have 35 points and are sitting in ninth place in the MLS overall standings two points behind the seventh-place tie between the Chicago Fire and the Kansas City Wizards. The Rapids will have to defeat RSL next Saturday and also have Kansas City and Chicago lose their weekend matches against FC Dallas and the LA Galaxy respectively.
The Rapids will close out the regular season this coming Saturday when they take on RealSaltLake in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Dick’s SportingGoodsPark. It is Fan Appreciation Night and the winner of the Rocky Mountain Cup will be decided as well as Colorado's playoffs hopes. Tickets are available at www.TicketHorse.com and by calling (303) 825-GOAL.
COL – Ihemelu (unassisted) 64
CHV – Perez (Kljestan Lopez) 78
COL – Cummings (Casey) 90
Colorado Rapids – Bouna Condoul Kosuke Kimura Ugo Ihemelu Mike Petke Brandon Prideaux Terry Cooke (Omar Cummings 83) Facundo Erpen Jose Cancela (Tony Sanneh 91+) Colin Clark (Jacob Peterson 83) Conor Casey Jovan Kirovski
Substitutes not used: Zach Thornton Daniel Osorno Nicolas Hernandez Kosuke Kimura
Chivas USA – Brad Guzan Alex Zotinca (Rodrigo Lopez 72) Claudio Suarez Shavar Thomas Orlando Perez Sacha Kljestan Jesse Marsch (Lawson Vaughn 63) Paulo Nagamura Jonathan Bornstein John Cunliffe (Laurent Merlin 58) Maykel Galindo
Substitutes not used: Preston Burpo Jason Hernandez Erasmo Solorzano Jorge Flores
CHV – Suarez (Caution) 32
COL – Prideaux (Ejection) 46
CHV – Thomas (Caution) 56
COL – Clark (Caution) 65
CHV – Bornstein (Caution) 84
CHV – Perez (Caution) 88
Referees Assts.: Frank Anderson; Emiliano Monje
Fourth Official: Ramon Hernandez