Rapids Travel to Battle Columbus Saturday Night

DENVER (ColoradoRapids.com) - Riding high off last weekend's 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the previously-undfeated DC United the Rapids travel to Columbus Saturday night to face off against the Crew for the second and final time this season.

In the last meeting between the 2 clubs the Rapids trounced Columbus 3-1 on April 8 the Rapids' 2006 Opening Night at Invesco Field behind goals from Jovan Kirovski Fabrice Noel and Kyle Beckerman.

For the full match preview of Saturday's match including projected lineups the latest injury report miscellaneous game notes broadcast information head-to-head stats and more visit the Rapids MatchUp Page by CLICKING HERE.

This Rapids will also be hosting an Official Away-Game Viewing Party for this match! The Rapids invite you to join other Rapids fans at The British Bulldog Denver's newest and best soccer bar! The game will be live and in High-Definition for your viewing enjoyment.

Rapids vs. Columbus Crew Viewing Party Details:

WHEN: Saturday May 13. Kickoff is at 5:30pm MT live on HDNET! (The game is only being broadcast on HDNet so this will be one of the few places to watch it!)

WHERE: The British Bulldog located at 2052 Stout Street in Denver (Broadway and Stout are the cross streets). Phone: 303-295-7974. Get there early as seating is limited!

COST: Free to attend for fans of all ages!

The Colorado Rapids look forward to seeing all fans out at the British Bulldog for the game this Saturday night!

MLSNet.com Match Preview

COLUMBUS CREW v COLORADO RAPIDS
CREW STADIUM Columbus Ohio
5:30 p.m. MT Kickoff
TV: HDNet
May 13 2006 (WEEK 7) / MLS Game #39

A pair of teams that have started to put together better results come together for the second time this season when the Colorado Rapids travel to Columbus to face the Crew. The Crew have lost just once in their last four games winning a pair - both of those victories coming away from home. The Rapids have put together an exactly similar run but both of their victories have come at home during a four-game home stand which now ends as they face three consecutive matches on the road.

REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Greg Barkey; JAR (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: first game
MLS 2006: first game
Games involving Crew: first game
Games involving Rapids: first game

INJURY REPORT:
COLUMBUS CREW - OUT: MF Duncan Oughton (R knee) GK Jonny Walker (lower back) DF Jed Zayner (L knee ACL); GK Bill Gaudette (R broken hand); MF Danny Szetela (L foot fracture); MF Jacob Thomas (R ankle sprain); DF Marcos Gonzalez (L hamstring strain); MF Eddie Gaven (L ankle sprain) DF Frankie Hejduk (R knee ACL)
COLORADO RAPIDS - OUT: GK Matt Jordan (lower back); QUESTIONABLE: MF Clint Mathis (R groin strain); PROBABLE: DF Matt Crawford (L hamstring); FW Fabrice Noel (R knee contusion); GK Joe Cannon (R groin strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES:
COL: Pablo Mastroeni (USA; 2006 World Cup)

SUSPENDED:
CLB: Jose Retiz (through May 13)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (24 meetings): Crew 5 wins (1 shootout) 29 goals ... Rapids 14 wins (2 shootout) 40 goals ... 5 draws
IN COLUMBUS: (12 meetings): Crew 4 wins (1 shootout) 19 goals ... Rapids 6 wins (1 shootout) 23 goals ... 2 draws

This is the second of two meetings between the clubs this season both coming in the space of little more than a month and the only one set for Columbus.

Coaches record: Sigi Schmid v COL: P24 W11 L9 D4 ... Fernando Clavijo vs. CLB: P10 W5 L4 D1

LAST MEETING
4/8: COL 3 CLB 1 (Kirovski 34; Beckerman 50; Noel 67 - Marshall 10)
The Rapids overcame an early deficit before winning for the first time on the season while keeping Sigi Schmid still searching for his first victory in charge of the Crew.

The Crew were full value for their money in the early exchanges and took the lead after just 10 minutes as Chad Marshall volleyed home a Danny Szetela free kick. But the Rapids began to re-assert their will on the game and drew level by halftime as Terry Cooke put in a nice cross from a good combination and found Jovan Kirovski who headed home in spectacular diving fashion (34).

After the break the home side took charge. Kyle Beckerman hit for his second goal in as many matches five minutes following the restart taking a corner knocked back from Cooke and again hitting the back of the net from long range.

Cooke then contributed his third assist of the contest finding Fabrice Noel with a cross for the young Haitian to head home with a dive and seal the full points for the Rapids.

Here's Fernando Clavijo's team (4-3-1-2): Joe Cannon - Hunter Freeman Mike Petke Chris Wingert Eric Denton - Terry Cooke Kyle Beckerman Nicolas Hernandez (Dan Gargan 75) - Jovan Kirovski - Fabrice Noel (Jacob Peterson 69) Jean Philippe Peguero (Luchi Gonzalez 83) [Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul Jordan Harvey Stephen Keel Daniel Wasson]

Here's Schmid's team (4-2-3-1): Jon Busch - Frankie Hejduk Chad Marshall Rusty Pierce Ritchie Kotschau - Brandon Moss (Eric Vasquez 69) Danny Szetela (Jose Retiz 69) - Jacob Thomas Eddie Gaven Kyle Martino - Kei Kamara (John Wolyniec 58) [Substitutes Not Used: Knox Cameron Bill Gaudette Joel Kitamirike Tim Ward]

The Crew's only win in Denver came on July 4 1999 a 3-0 Columbus victory and the only time the Rapids have lost in 10 years on the 4th of July. Since then the Rapids have won three of the six meetings in the Mile High City with three draws.

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew won for the second time on the season - both coming away from home - as they got a late goal to defeat Real Salt Lake 1-0 last Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Crew moved up in the Eastern Conference now tied for third place with seven points from six matches level with the New England Revolution four points behind D.C. United and six out of first place.

LAST MATCH
-The bottom teams in each conference met and for the opening three-quarters of the encounter seemed unlikely to settle their differences.
-But 20 minutes from time newly-acquired Ezra Hendrickson received a long ball on the right turned his defender and dropped in a pass for Jason Garey to run onto. The rookie hit a looping shot from just inside the area that cleanly beat Scott Garlick inside the near post for the clincher the first professional goal for the 2005 M.A.C. Hermann Trophy winner.
-The Crew were forced to play the final five minutes a man short after midfielder Jose Retiz was sent off but Real could not find an equalizer as their winless streak reached 18 games dating back to last August.
-Crew head coach Sigi Schmid made three changes to the team that lost 1-0 to the Kansas City Wizards at home the weekend before. Chad Marshall returned to the lineup and Ezra Hendrickson made his first start for the Crew since being acquired from Chivas USA coming in for Tim Ward and the injured Frankie Hejduk. Kei Kamara also came back into the team replacing the injured Eddie Gaven.
-Here's Schmid's team (4-4-1-1): Jon Busch - Ezra Hendrickson Ritchie Kotschau Chad Marshall Rusty Pierce - Kei Kamara (Knox Cameron 56) Brandon Moss Jose Retiz Kyle Martino (Chris Leitch 86) - Sebastian Rozental (Tim Ward 76) - Jason Garey. [Substitutes Not Used: Andy Gruenebaum Dayton O'Brien Eric Vasquez John Wolyniec]
-There are certain games where you just have to roll up your sleeves and sometimes you just have to win ugly but the sign of a good team when you start to become a good team is when you find a way to win games when you aren't playing your best Schmid said. "I thought our first half today was a throwback to our first half of the year. And we came out 0-0 so we gave ourselves a chance and I thought it was a little bit better in the second half but it still wasn't our best game where we got points."

TEAM NEWS
-The Crew's lengthy injury list shows no sign of abating. "They showed tremendous heart and tremendous desire. With as many people as we're missing Schmid said "I'm just really proud with the way they rolled up their sleeves the way they battled (in the RSL win)."
-Garey was thrilled with his first professional goal coming in just his second start in MLS.
-"There is no comparison [to scoring in college] Garey said. "This is my first professional goal. [Here] we get paid to do it. It's what I'm supposed to be doing and it's a great feeling to finally get my first goal ... especially that we got the win tonight." Said Schmid: "That's what he did in college and that's what he's here for. He had the one opportunity and he buried it."
-Defender Rusty Pierce said Garey reminded him of a former teammate. "[Jason's] a grinder Pierce said. "He reminds me a lot of Taylor Twellman when Taylor first came into the league. Obviously Taylor has developed into an incredible player - he's a great player. It's a similar style he's a worker."
-Another Crew member made his way into the record books. Jon Busch recorded his 34th win for the Black-and-Gold passing Mark Dougherty as the all-time wins leader for goalkeepers for the Crew.
-"First and foremost it was good just to win period Busch said of the record. "The most important thing was getting the three points. Secondary was the record. Individual honors are not why I play this game."
-Chad Marshall returned to the lineup after a week off - and late in the match it looked as if his return would be short-lived taking the brunt of a three-way collision with Crew defender Ritchie Kotschau and RSL's Atiba Harris. Marshall was bloodied but stayed in the match.
-"For sure he was my man of the match Schmid said. "He came up pretty big at times and played very well."

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids moved up in the Western Conference getting their second victory of the season with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against D.C. United at Invesco Field last Saturday evening. The Rapids are tied for third place in the division with seven points from five matches.

LAST MATCH
-United came into the match undefeated on the season while the Rapids had gotten off to an indifferent beginning. The match was opened up after a tame first half just after the restart United scoring from a neat passing movement which Christian Gomez finished off by sliding in to redirect a centering pass from Josh Gros wrong-footing Joe Cannon in the Rapids goal.
-But just five minutes later Colorado drew level Jovan Kirovski converting from the penalty spot after he was brought by Facundo Erpen deep in the area while trying to chase down a through ball.
-Then six minutes from time the home side secured the victory. Terry Cooke steamed out of midfield and sent in a majestic early cross that Nicolas Hernandez brought down skipped around United 'keeper Troy Perkins and fired home from a tight angle for his first MLS goal. The goal was later voted MLS Goal of the Week.
-Rapids boss Fernando Clavijo made one change to the team that lost 1-0 to Houston Dynamo the weekend before at home. Aitor Karanka made his MLS debut as he came into central defense Dedi Ben-Dayan the odd man out as the team underwent a tactical shuffle including Pablo Mastroeni moving forward into a central midfield role.
-Here's Clavijo's team (4-2-3-1): Joe Cannon - Hunter Freeman Mike Petke (Dedi Ben-Dayan 80) Aitor Karanka Eric Denton - Pablo Mastroeni Kyle Beckerman - Terry Cooke Clint Mathis (Daniel Wasson 87) Nicolas Hernandez (Thiago Martins 89) - Jovan Kirovski. [Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul Fabrice Noel Jacob Peterson Chris Wingert]
-"What I just said to the guys right now was: 'We cannot ask Joe (Cannon) to save our lives.' As a team I think we won the game today. Joe made unbelievable saves and we punished them when we needed to. We didn't give up any early goals at least in the first half but the effort was outstanding Clavijo said.

TEAM NEWS
-Spanish defender Aitor Karanka made his MLS debut in central defense. "I feel very comfortable and glad the team played as well as it did. It was a special game he said. "Not only was I making my debut but the crowd was great and it was against one of the best teams in the league. When the team wins you don't look at the details it is just an overall great feeling."
-Clavijo was happy with the influence Karanka had on his team. "I'm glad to see (Aitor) Karanka have his first game and he made an impression on all of us and it was also nice to see Nicolas (Hernandez) score his first goal. (The defense) was better. I have to commend Pablo (Mastroeni) even with him leaving for the World Cup his effort coming out and playing 90 minutes really shows his leadership in this team."
-After playing as an out-and-out striker some this season Hernandez's first goal came while wide on the left in the Rapids three-pronged attack.
-"As a third striker he made sure Freddy (Adu) was not going to go forward and chase a lot of people Clavijo said. "That's something (former striker) Jeff Cunningham would never do."
-The Rapids played in their green alternate third jerseys. It was the first time since they switched colors in 2003 that they had worn their original colors but Clavijo does not think that the green jerseys will become a team talisman. "I am very superstitious said Clavijo. "But I think it was the team effort more than the green jerseys today."
-During the week the Rapids eased to a 5-1 victory in a friendly against Boulder Rapids Reserve the club's PDL affiliate. Thiago Martins scored after five minutes and Luchi Gonzalez doubled the lead five minutes later. Gonzalez scored again in the 35th minute then Dedi Ben-Dayan made it 4-0 before the break.