The Rapids become the second MLS victim of the Thunder in the 2005 US Open Cup tournament. Minnesota defeated Real Salt Lake 6-4 on July 14. Two of the six Thunder's goals that night were also scored by Tarley.
The first scoring opportunity came for the home team in the first minutes of the game when a cross into the heart of the Rapids area met the head of a Thunder forward whose header was blocked by defender Nat Borchers. The rebound landed at the feet of John Menyongar whose shot went just inches wide of Joe Cannon’s right post.
In the 16th minute a quick shot by Rapids forward Alain Nkong met the well-positioned Thunder goalkeeper Joe Warren who was able to control the ball.
It was once again the home team who put on the pressure in the 22nd minute when Menyongar’s shot from eight yards out forced Cannon to make a diving save to maintain the 0-0 tie.
Minnesota midfielder Jay Alberts fired two shots in the 32nd and 33rd minutes that tested Cannon once again. The 2004 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year’s catlike reactions cleared the danger.
It was Luchi Gonzalez with a shot from 20 yards out that seriously tested Warren for the first time in the game. Warren was forced to make a diving save on Gonzalez’s shot.
The Thunder successfully struck in the 38th minute when forward Melvin Tarley beat Cannon from the top of the penalty area. Tarley unleashed a powerful shot after receiving a pass from Nathan Knox.
Gonzalez combined with Nkong again in the final minutes of the first half but his close range shot was stopped by Warren.
Tarley scored again for the Thunder in the 47th minute when he picked up a loose ball inside the Rapids' penalty area. Cannon made the save on the initial shot but was unable to hold onto the ball and the rebound was one-timed by Talley beating Cannon for the second time of the evening.
Guy Melamed came close to netting the first goal for the Rapids in the 67th minute when his powerful shot from 30 yards out was again saved by Warren.
Nkong netted the first stike for the Rapids only two minutes later when he buried a long shot. The Cameroonian international received a ball form Eric Denton in the 69th minute before controlling it and unleashing a shot that beat Warren to his right post.
Tarley netted his third of the night in the 72nd minute when he beat Cannon to his left post.
A volley from 11 yards out by Rapids defender Hunter Freeman in the 75th minute found Warren well-positioned to maintain the 3-1 Minnesota lead.
Tarley scored his fourth and final goal of the match in the 76th minute after receiving a pass inside of the Rapids' penalty area before beating Cannon with a close range shot.
The Thunder now advance to the next round of the tournament to face the Kansas City Wizards who defeated the Des Moines Menace 6-1 on Wednesday night.
2005 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup 4th Round Match
Colorado Rapids at Minnesota Thunder
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Alain Nkong
COL- Alain Nkong (Eric Denton 69’)
MIN- Melvin Tarley (Nathan Knox 38'); Melvin Tarley (Jay Alberts 47’); Melvin Tarley (Unassisted) 72’; Melvin Tarley (Unassisted 76’)
COL- Denton 33’ (Y);
COL- Joe Cannon Ricky Lewis (Hunter Freeman 50’) Nat Borchers Ritchie Kotschau Terry Cooke (Dan Gargan 66’) Guy Melamed Leo Cullen Eric Denton Alain Nkong Luchi Gonzalez (Jean Philippe Peguero 50’) Jeff Cunningham (Wolde Harris 59’)
SUBS NOT USED: Byron Foss Mike Petke
MNT: Warren; Knox Wilson C. Dombrowski; Juarez Tenoff (T. Dombrowski 71) Alberts Lara (Friedland 63) Schmidt; Menyongar (Matteo 76) Tarley (Paye 81)
SUBS NOT USED: Platter Branan Brunt
Colorad Shots: 12 Fouls: 9 Offside: 0 Corners: 1
Minnesota: Shots: 14 Fouls: 9 Offside: 3 Corners: 1
Cannon (Colorado):Shots faced: 14 Saves: 7 Goals allowed: 4
Warren (Minnesota): Shots faced: 12 Saves: 5 Goals allowed: 1