The Colorado Rapids extended their unbeaten streak to four games and jumped up into second place in the Western Conference with a 2-1 win over the Dallas Burn at INVESCO Field at Mile High. After Matt Behncke gave Dallas a first half lead John Spencer and Nat Borchers registered second half strikes for the Rapids giving the club their third straight win at home.
The win improves the Rapids' record to 9-7-9 (36 points) and moves the club over the Los Angeles Galaxy into second place while the Burn fall into last place with the loss.
With so much on the line the opening 20 minutes of the match were a tight and tense affair with the Rapids having the better of the chances. Nat Borchers and John Spencer each went close with headers in the opening 15 minutes but neither was able to get their shots on target. At the other end of the pitch Eric Quill and Oscar Pareja each tested Cannon from long range while Toni Nhelko got free in the six yard box only for his snap header to be parried aside by the Rapids keeper.
After knocking on the door a few times in the opening half the Burn finally got their reward in the 43rd minute when Behncke scored the first goal of his MLS career. Oscar Pareja started the attack by playing a long ball from the center of the park to Ronnie O’Brien out on the right flank. O’Brien settled the pass and sent a cross into the center of the box for Behncke who redirected the cross low past Cannon from about six yards out giving Dallas a 1-0 advantage that they’d take into the locker room.
Behncke’s goal ended the Rapids' consecutive scoreless minutes streak at 339 minutes setting a new season-high record for Colorado. It also was the first goal that Cannon and the Rapids had allowed at INVESCO Field since June 19 breaking a string of 534 consecutive minutes without surrendering a goal at home.
As the second half began the Rapids were in jeopardy of falling into last place in the Western Conference and therefore began to push numbers forward in attack. Jordan Cila came on for Kyle Beckerman and nearly made an immediate impact. Some effective interplay at the top of the box between Cila John Spencer and Jean Philippe Peguero freed Cila in the box. The rookie forward hit a right-footed shot on frame but Dallas keeper Jeff Cassar dove to his right to palm the ball which bounced up and down near the goalline. The rebound began to roll over the goalline for the score but Chris Gbandi slid in to clear the ball just off the line and keep the Burn in front.
While the Rapids were unable to score on their first chance they would not have to wait long to find an equalizer. In the 52nd minute John Spencer scored his fourth goal of the season. Jean Phillippe Peguero got free inside the box with some quick footwork and crossed the ball to the back post for Spencer who hit a hard right-footed volley past Cassar from eight yards out levelling the score at 1-1. Spencer celebrated by running over to kiss his son Brad who was watching the game from the sidelines.
Just two minutes later the Rapids nearly grabbed the lead again through Peguero. Spencer collected the ball at the top of the box and laid it off for Peguero who lashed a right-footed shot off the right post from 16 yards out and the game remained tied at 1-1.
With the game drawing to a close and the points looking to be split Nat Borchers stepped up to hand the Rapids three important points. Spencer won a corner for the Rapids in the 85th minute setting up the game-winner. Antonio de la Torre took the corner from the right wing and beelined a cross for Borchers at the near post for the second-year defender to slam a header past Cassar from eight yards out. The goal set off a raucous celebration on the Rapids bench and in the stands and gave the Rapids a 2-1 lead and the victory.
Fans all over Colorado were also able to celebrate at home as this match had the honor of being the first-ever program to be broadcast live on the new Altitude Sports and Entertainment TV network.
The Rapids return to action this Friday when they host the Kansas City Wizards at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 10th at 7:30 p.m. (MT) in the traditional Free Rapids Soccer Ball night. Tickets for this game and all other Rapids home matches are on sale now. Call 303-825-GOAL for more information.
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Nat Borchers
MLSNet.com Man of the Match: Nat Borchers
DAL – Behncke (O’Brien Pareja) 43’
COL – Spencer (Peguero) 52’; Borchers (De la Torre) 86’
COLORADO RAPIDS LINEUP— Joe Cannon Antonio de la Torre Nat Borchers Ritchie Kotschau Matt Crawford Pablo Mastroeni (Gary Sullivan 84’) Kyle Beckerman (Jordan Cila 46’) Mark Chung Chris Henderson Jean Philippe Peguero John Spencer (Seth Trembly 87’).
TOTAL SHOTS: 25 (Spencer 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Peguero Spencer 2); FOULS: 12 (Peguero 3); OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 6 (Cannon 6); CAUTIONS: None; EJECTIONS: None.
DALLAS BURN LINEUP— Jeff Cassar Chris Gbandi Steve Jolley Matt Behncke Carey Talley Simo Valakari Eric Quill (Brad Davis 80’) Oscar Pareja (Bobby Rhine 72’) Ronnie O’Brien Toni Nhelko (Jason Kreis 84’) Eddie Johnson.
TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Nhelko 6) SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Nhelko 2) FOULS: 11 (4 tied with 2) OFFSIDE: 4 CORNER KICKS: 6 SAVES: 5 (Cassar 5) CAUTIONS: Rhine 72’ EJECTIONS: None.
Referee: Terry Vaughn. Referee's Assistants: Nate Clement Steve Taylor. 4th Official: Scott McCaslin. Attendance: 8931. Temperature: 62 degrees and cloudy.