Commerce City CO (Saturday August 11 2007) – It was home sweet home for the Rapids Saturday night.
Playing their first game at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in more than a month the Rapids forced an own goal and Bouna Coundoul and the defense recorded the sixth shutout of the season in a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo with 18024 fans watching from the stands at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Looking to put an end to the long winless run the Rapids came out hungry controlling the pace for most of the first half. Most of the action over the opening 45 minutes was in the middle third but Colorado created more opportunities early on keeping the pressure on the Dynamo defense.
The Rapids used speed in the 10th minute to create their first scoring chance. Colin Clark held off his defender on the left side and played a through ball to Jacob Peterson. Peterson beat his man to the ball but his cross went behind Herculez Gomez.
In the 32nd minute Jovan Kirovski received a ball in midfield turned with a man on his back and played a ball behind the defense to Clark. A Dynamo defender did just enough to slow the Fort Collins native and allowed 'keeper Pat Onstad to pounce on the ball.
Onstad continued to keep the game level in first half stoppage time with a diving save. Clark played a pinpoint pass across the field to Terry Cooke on the right wing. Cooke picked out Kirovski on the top of the 18 but Kirovski’s blast was stopped short by Onstad.
In the 55th minute Peterson headed a Clark cross just over the crossbar for the Rapids' first scoring opportunity of the second half.
Onstad made yet another solid save in the 57th minute when Gomez unleashed a low screamer off an indirect free kick from 30 yards out.
The Rapids' hard work and persistence paid off in the 62nd minute. After earning a corner a dangerous ball was sent in by Cooke that forced Dwayne De Rosario to clear the ball with a powerful header just wide of the goal.
The corner kick that followed saw the Canadian midfielder called into action to clear the ball again however this time he wasn’t as lucky. Cooke’s ball ricocheted off of De Rosario’s head past a shocked Onstad and into the back of the Houston net.
Pablo Mastroeni had another excellent opportunity in the 64th minute for Colorado taking possession of the ball right of the goal and making a sharp centering pass but there were no teammates there to complete the play.
The tightly-played match brought its share of tension and yellow cards were issued to Houston's Joseph Ngwenya and Colorado's Mike Petke who hit the ground in a tangle and came up scrapping in the 71st minute.
The Rapids were forced to play down a man in the 77th minute when referee Terry Vaughn showed a straight red card to Ugo Ihemelu for a collision with Ngwenya who went to the turf a bit too softly after bumping shoulders with the Rapids' defender.
Just minutes later when Dynamo defender Craig Waibel took down a Rapids attacker on a breakaway Vaughn awarded the Dynamo player a yellow card prompting the Rapids' faithful to rain down the boos on Waibel for the rest of the match whenever he touched the ball.
The Rapids will continue their three-game home stand this coming Thursday when they take on the New England Revolution at Dick's Sporting Goosd Park. The game will kickoff at 7 p.m. instead of the previously announced 8 p.m. due to ESPN2 dropping the game broadcast in favor of the LA Galaxy at Toronto FC match.
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Colin Clark
COL – Own Goal (De Rosario) 61
Colorado Rapids – Bouna Coundoul Brandon Prideaux Ugo Ihemelu Mike Petke (Conor Casey 85) Dan Gargan Colin Clark Pablo Mastroeni Jovan Kirovski Terry Cooke Herculez Gomez (Nick LaBrocca 90+) Jacob Peterson (Facundo Erpen 78)
Substitutes Not Used: Zach Thornton Niko Hernandez Jose Cancela Daniel Osorno
Houston Dynamo – Pat Onstad Craig Waibel Ryan Cochrane (Corey Ashe 45) Patrick Ianni Wade Barrett Brian Mullan Ricardo Clark Dwayne De Rosario Richard Mulrooney Nate Jaqua (Brian Ching 63) Joseph Ngwenya
Substitutes Not Used: Zach Wells Mike Chabala Stuart Holden Eddie Robinson Chris Wondolowski
COL – Gomez (Caution) 4
HOU – Cochrane (Caution) 45
HOU – Nqwenya (Caution) 71
COL – Petke (Caution) 71
COL – Ihemelu (Ejection) 77
HOU – Waibel (Caution) 80
COL – Prideaux (Caution) 81
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referees Assts.: George Vergara Jose Corro
Fourth Official: Ben Chouaf