Rapids Suffer Tough 3-2 Loss at Chicago

BRIDGEVIEW Ill. (From MLS and Rapids reports) - The Colorado Rapids’ locker room was a desperately quiet and disappointed one after the team fell to a gut-wrenching 3-2 defeat to the Chicago Fire after having held a 2-0 lead with 20 minutes to go.
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Most of the players could barely speak as the reality of the defeat sunk in. To lose on the road against a team like the Chicago Fire is no disgrace but the Rapids know full well they will never have a better chance of gaining three road points against one of the better teams in the league.
To snatch defeat from the jaws of victory will be a bitter pill to swallow for the team as they continue to seek to enter the postseason for the first time in three years.
Scott Palguta who had to come off with a calf injury sustained right at the end of the first half was one of the few Rapids players able to speak in the immediate aftermath of the defeat.
"Gary (Smith) was just asking where would they score from the central defender said. "At the very least we had to hold on to 2-2 if we are going to be a playoff team. We have to hold on to that lead."

Head Coach Smith said he could never fault the effort of his team but they had to show more resistance in such a pressure situation. He acknowledged the importance of the penalty decision in the 70th minute which tipped the balance of the game but refused to give that up as an excuse for the defeat. Some bad decisions were made in those last frantic minutes and it was such decisions that had cost the team the game.
"It’s a 90 minute game and we will read in the paper tomorrow that we were on the receiving end of a 3-2 loss Smith said. "We dominated for the first 70 minutes but we will ultimately fail through a lack of resilience."
The crucial turning point was undoubtedly the penalty decision. After Omar Cummings had scored two goals in the opening 15 minutes of the second half for the Rapids – the second one a wonder strike from just outside the box with his left foot – the Fire roared back into the game when Cuauhtemoc Blanco converted following his own run into the box. Kosuke Kimura was ruled to have fouled the Mexican playmaker as he struggled to carve an opening. Most neutrals and all the Rapids players believe that Kimura legitimately got the ball and that Blanco made the most of it.
"I would love to see that again Smith said. "The replay shows he (Kimura) had a foot on the ball and there was a good challenge."
Legitimate or not the converted kick started the slide that eventually led to the Rapids giving up the precious two-goal lead.
"We just lost it said goalscorer Cummings. "After the penalty kick they got momentum and took their chances."
Take them the Fire did. So did the Rapids after the disappointing first half for both teams. But it was the Rapids who succumbed to the mounting pressure. It will be back to the drawing board in Colorado next week to work out how to squeeze wins out of such situations or at least avoid such painful losses.
"We played well for 70 minutes but that doesn’t matter now added goalkeeper Matt Pickens as he left the ghostlike locker room.
Nick Thomas covers the Rapids for MLSnet.com.
AT&T Rapids Man of the Match: Omar Cummings
Scoring Summary:
COL- Cummings (unassisted) 48
COL- Cummings (Smith) 58
CHI- Blanco (penalty kick) 72
CHI- Banner (unassisted) 85
CHI- Robinson (Banner) 93+
Lineups:
Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens Kosuke Kimura Cory Gibbs Scott Palguta (Ugo Ihemelu 46) Jordan Harvey Jamie Smith (Mehdi Ballouchy 73) Nick LaBrocca Pablo Mastroeni Jacob Peterson (Greg Dalby 81) Conor Casey Omar Cummings
Substitutes Not Used: Preston Burpo Facundo Diz Ty Harden Pat Noonan
Chicago Fire: Jon Busch Austin Washington (Mike Banner 70) C.J. Brown Dasan Robinson Brandon Prideaux Peter Lowry (Justin Mapp 76) Cuauhtemoc Blanco Logan Pause Marco Pappa Chris Rolfe Stefan Dimitrov (Patrick Nyarko 58)
Substitutes Not Used: Calen Carr Andrew Dykstra Baggio Husidic
Discipline:
COL- Casey (caution; Simulation) 65
COL- Kimura (caution; Tactical Foul) 71
COL- Cummings (caution; Reckless Foul) 82
CHI- Robinson (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 85
CHI- Robinson (ejection; Second Caution) 93+
Referee: Ramon Hernandez
Referee's Assistants: Nate Clement; Peter Balciunas
Fourth Official: Landis Wiley