Short-Handed Rapids Drop 2-1 Decision to Dallas in Final Preseason Match

Austin TX (Colorado Rapids Media Relations)- The Colorado Rapids dropped a 2-1 decision to Dallas FC tonight in an exhibition match played at Nelson Field in Austin TX.

The first opportunity of the night came in the 7th minute when Jeff Cunningham almost stole the ball from the feet of Dallas’ goalkeeper Scott Garlick. The former Rapids goalie tried to play from the back and almost lost the ball to the Jamaican native’s touch but Cunningham's effort was not enough to steal the ball for what would have been a easy goal for the Black and Blue.

The second opportunity of the night came in the 13th minute when Garlick’s goal kick which was short due to the strong winds on the field was won by Rapids forward Wolde Harris whose header left Cunningham on a one-on-one situation with the Texas goalie. Cunningham’s shot sailed just inches wide from the left post of the home team.

One minute later Joe Cannon came up big for the Rapids when he deflected a powerful shot from Ty Maurin from inside the penalty area. Maurin broke free with a through ball to the back of the defenders before unleashing a shot aimed for the upper right corner of Cannon’s goal but a quick reaction of the 2004 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year kept the Rapids in the game.

Cannon was called upon again in the 25th minute when he saved a one-on-one play against Dallas’ Cornell Glen. The strong winds that prevailed throughout the entire game made the long balls drop right behind the defenders’ backs as it did in this play leaving Glenn alone against Cannon who made himself big at the top of the penalty area to block the shot with his chest and clear the danger.

Israeli defender Guy Melamed had a good opportunity in the 30th minute when his header went over Dallas’s goal. Chris Henderson bent a corner kick to the far post where Melamed beat his defender to the ball but his header went off the frame.

The first goal of the night came in the 53rd minute when Alain Nkong netted his first goal as a Rapids player. A quick throw-in from Cunningham to Henderson opened the space for the Rapids veteran to send a through ball to defender Dan Gargan who had joined the attack. Gargan sent a cross in to the top of Dallas’s box where an onrushing Nkong buried the ball into the back of the net with an accurate first touch.

The Rapids played one man down for 28 minutes when Nkong the Cameroonian international who had just given the lead to the team saw his second yellow card of the game in the 62nd minute and was ejected from the match.

Cunningham came close to making the game 2-0 on two occasions in the 68th and 70th minutes but saw his first attempt saved by Garlick and his second one just whistle inches from the right post.

The Dallas side evened the scoring in the 80th minute when Ty Maurin’s header rolled into the Rapids' goal despite Cannon’s deflection on a close range header.

Dallas stole the three points from the first MLS Exhibition match in Austin Texas when Rapids midfielder Terry Cooke’s header ended up in Cannon’s goal. Cooke had little time to react to an outswinging corner kick that surprised him after flying past a crowded pentaly box and wasn’t able to give proper direction to the ball which ended up in his own net.

The Rapids return to Denver tomorrow where they will hold four training sessions before traveling to Kansas City where they will kick off the team’s 10th MLS Season against the Wizards this Saturday April 2nd at 6:00 p.m. (MT) at Arrowhead Stadium.

RAPIDS LINEUPS- Cannon Kotschau Melamed (Denton 45’) Borchers Gargan Morales Beckerman Nkong Henderson (Cooke 57’) Harris (Gonzalez 61’) Cunningham

SCORING-
COL- Nkong(Gargan Henderson 53’)
DAL- Maurin 80’; Cooke (OWN GOAL 87’)