A Terry Cooke cross in the early minutes of the match that found midfielder Eric Denton inside of the Earthquakes penalty area produced the first scoring opportunity for the Rapids. Denton’s header found Earthquakes goalie Pat Onstad well-positioned to make the save.
San Jose opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Brian Mullan intercepted a Colorado pass before beating three Rapids defenders at the top of the penalty area. His quick foot skills were enough to create space to place a powerful shot past a diving Joe Cannon and into the side netting.
A Colorado free kick in the 23rd minute almost opened the Rapids' scoring account when Denton found Jeff Cunningham in the penalty box but the forward’s header went into the waiting hands of Onstad.
Denton again found his way into the box in the 27th minute but it looked as if he was pushed in the back right as he was heading the ball causing the shot to go awry.
The Rapids made their first substitution in the first half as Jean-Philippe Peguero came in for Mike Petke in the 28th minute. Petke pulled his right hip muscle prompting the substitution and will be re-evaluated leading up to Saturday’s game against Chicago.
A Peguero header from a Ricky Lewis ball just minutes after his coming into the game was corralled by Onstad.
Luchi Gonzalez provided a service from the left sideline for Cooke with seconds to go before halftime that was headed on goal but stopped by Onstad.
Colorado made their second swap of the night in the 57th minute when Wolde Harris came in for Cuningham.
Cannon stoned former Rapids midfielder Mark Chung when the Earthquakes player came down the left wing and unleashed a hard shot directly at the Rapids' goal.
Haitian forward Fabrice Noel made his Colorado Rapids and MLS debut in the 61st minute when he replaced Gonzalez in the Rapids lineup.
Cannon came up big for the home team in the 63rd minute when he stopped a 25-yard shot from Chung that was sailing towards the back of the net.
Dwayne De Rosario broke down the right sideline in the 73rd minute then cut to the center of the field where he found a wide open Chung whose shot was placed just out of the reach of Cannon’s diving body for the Earthquakes’ second goal of the night.
Peguero earned a penalty kick for the Rapids in the 81st minute when he was pulled down by defender Eddie Robinson. Harris calmly stepped up and put the ball into the right side of the net as a helpless Onstad dove to the opposite side.
The Rapids almost equalized the scoring in the 83rd minute when Beckerman headed a cross from Denton that was blocked by the Earthquakes defense. The loose ball felt at the feet of Peguero whose quick shot was also blocked before the ball was put out for a goal kick.
In the 87th minute a Cooke through ball found an onrushing Peguero who shot the ball just wide of Onstad’s goal.
Beckerman’s second shot at an equalizing header was barely stopped by a diving Onstad in the dying minutes of regulation.
A tense four minutes of extra time saw the Rapids mount a formidable attack but Onstad and the Earthquakes held tight and secured the victory.
Colorado will be back in action this Saturday when they play the Chicago Fire at 7 p.m. at INVESCO Field at Mile High. The Rapids will be hosting ‘Marcelo Balboa Hall of Fame’ night in which the first 5000 fans into the stadium will receive a Marcelo Balboa bobblehead.
Colorado Rapids vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Wed. July 20 at Invesco Field
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Joe Cannon
COL- Joe Cannon Ricky Lewis Nat Borchers Mike Petke (Jean-Philippe Peguero 28) Ritchie Kotschau Eric Denton Leo Cullen Kyle Beckerman Terry Cooke Luchi Gonzalez (Fabrice Noel 61) Jeff Cunningham (Wolde Harris 57)
Subs Not Used: Bryon Foss Amir Lowery Sasha Gotsmanov Hunter Freeman Dan Gargan Guy Melamed.
SJ- Pat Onstad Wade Barrett Ryan Cochrane Eddie Robinson Kelly Gray Mark Chung Ricardo Clark Brian Mullan (Julian Nash 76) Dwayne De Rosario Ronald Cerritos Alejandro Moreno
Subs Not Used: Jon Conway Wes Hart Ian Russell Danny O’Rourke.
COL- Harris 81' (PK)
SJ- Mullan 20' Chung 73'
SJ -- Brian Mullan (caution; Persistent Infringement) 37
COL -- Terry Cooke (caution; Reckless Foul) 41
COL -- Leo Cullen (caution; Pushing Holding) 57
COL -- Kyle Beckerman (caution; Dissent) 66
SJ -- Pat Onstad (caution; Delaying a Restart) 84
Referee: Ben Jones
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry Corey Rockwell
4th Official: Richard Heron