(To view video highlights from this match CLICK HERE).
The Rapids who were wearing their green 2006 third jerseys in honor of the club's annual "Free Jersey Night" promotion were able to score two unanswered goals to take the three points from the previously undefeated United.
With the victory DC United goes down in history as never having been able to defeat the Rapids at INVESCO Field at Mile High. The last time DC won in Denver was in the year 2000 (the Rapids moved into Invesco Field in 2002) and Saturday night's game marked the last time DC will ever visit Invesco Field as next year the Rapids move into their brand-new stadium.
United had the first chance of the game when Alecko Eskandarian was fouled 25 yards from goal. Christian Gomez stepped up to take the direct kick and it looked as if the Rapids would concede an early set piece goal again until Joe Cannon reacted quickly and deflected the ball into the crossbar to save a certain goal.
The Rapids had their first chance off a free kick in the 23rd minute. Kirovski played a ball to the far post from the right side of the box. Several players in green waited for the ball but D.C. goalkeeper Troy Perkins grabbed it before anyone could get a touch.
Cannon made his finest save of the season to date in the 37th minute. A weakly-cleared free kick by the Rapids defense fell to Jamil Walker at the top of the penalty box and he volleyed the ball on his first touch toward the side-netting. Cannon dove to his right and extended his right arm to knock the ball out of harm's way in a spectacular display of athletic ability.
Despite numerous chances from the Rapids' front line and the enocouragement of the strong home crowd the Colorado side was not able to find the back of the net and the teams went into the locker rooms 0-0 at halftime.
At halftime fans were treated to a special ceremony held by the Rapids to send off Pablo Mastroeni to the 2006 World Cup. This was Mastroeni's last home game before departing to the USA training camp for the 2006 World Cup. Rapids VP and Managing Director Jeff Plush presented Pablo with Colorado and USA flags to take with him Clint Mathis presented Pablo with a framed USA jersey that had been signed with good luck wishes from all his Rapids teammates and the Rapids' Supporters Clubs presented him with a giant banner signed by fans!
(For more details on the Rapids' send-off ceremony for Mastroeni CLICK HERE).
D.C. United did not wait long in the second half to take the lead. In the 49th minute Eskandarian played a ball to a wide open Joshua Gros on the left side of the Rapids defense. Gros crossed the ball and Christian Gomez slid and barely touched the ball but it was enough to trickle past Cannon and into the net.
Just minutes later Kirovski leveled the score in the 55th minute from the penalty spot. Kirovski placed the ball perfectly inside the right post just past the outstretched arm of Perkins after earning the penalty when he was fouled by Facundo Erpen in the box. It was Kirovski’s fourth goal in five games this season and put him into second place on the MLS goal-scorers chart.
Mike Petke nearly scored his first goal in a Rapids uniform against his former club on a corner kick in the 66th minute. Terry Cooke provided the service to the back post where the ball sailed past Perkins right to Petke who headed the ball on goal but it was cleared off the line by a DC defender.
Hernandez gave the home team the game-winner in the 84th minute with the first goal of his MLS career. After coming close to scoring many times in this game and last week's the Argentine finally found redemption as he latched onto a perfect Terry Cooke through ball and ripped the ball into the back of the D.C. net to send the packed house into hysterics.
Pablo Mastroeni who had a great game at defensive mid skilfully disposessed a United forward and quickly found Terry Cooke on the wings. Cooke steamed about 30 yards through midfield and sent in a majestic early cross that Niko brought down skipped around United 'keeper Troy Perkins and fired home from a tight angle for his first MLS goal. The assist by Cooke was his fourth on the campaign and tied him for the league lead.
The Rapids' next game is Saturday May 13 when they take on the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium.
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Joe Cannon
DC – Gomez (Gros Eskandarian) 49'
COL – Kirovski (Penalty kick) 55'
COL – Hernandez (Cooke Mastroeni) 84'
Colorado Rapids – Joe Cannon Hunter Freeman Aitor Karanka Mike Petke (Dedi Ben-Dayan 80) Eric Denton Terry Cooke Pablo Mastroeni Clint Mathis (Daniel Wasson 87) Kyle Beckerman Nicolas Hernandez (Thiago Martins 89) Jovan Kirovski
Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul Fabrice Noel Jacob Peterson Chris Wingert
D.C. United – Troy Perkins Brandon Prideaux (John Wilson 76) Bobby Boswell Facundo Erpen Joshua Gros Bryan Namoff Brian Carroll Christian Gomez (Lucio Filomeno 88) Alecko Eskandarian Jamie Moreno Jamil Walker (Freddy Adu 44)
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan McIntosh Devon McTavish Domenic Mediate Ben Olsen
DC – Prideaux (Caution 16)
Referee: Brian Hall
Referee's Assistants: Thomas Supple; Richard Eddy
4th Official: Chuck Locke
Weather: 59 degrees and Mostly Cloudy