Colorado’s first scoring chance came in the fifth minute when Dan Gargan played a ball into the center of the field to Guy Melamed who found a streaking Edson Alvarado on the left. Alvarado took one touch and then hit a shot on goal that the Mitchell did well to deflect away.
In the 13th minute a Hunter Freeman cross caused havoc in the Blizzard penalty area as Montezuma Serrato headed it down to Wolde Harris who found Melamed open but the shot was stopped by a Blizzard defender before it got on goal.
Beckerman scored first for the Rapids in the 18th minute. Just one minute after his shot from outside the 18 was barely stopped by Blizzard goalkeeper Matt Mitchell the Maryland native broke through the middle of the Blizzard defense and found himself alone with just the goalie to beat. As Mitchell came out Beckerman calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
The Blizzard’s Garrett Maloney had the first scoring chance for the home side in the 28th minute when his shot was parried away and out of danger by Coundoul.
Coundoul was called on again in the 35th minute to stop a shot from outside the 18 that dribbled into the waiting hands of the Black and Blue's ‘keeper.
A clumsy challenge by the Bilzzard's Marley Wilson in the 45th minute forced the referee to reach into his back pocket and produce a red card forcing the PDL squad to play with 10 men for the rest of the game.
At the halftime mark the Rapids made wholesale changes as all the field players were replaced and many Rapids regulars came onto the pitch.
In the 47th minute Ricky Lewis came up from his right back position to take a shot that just grazed the top of the crossbar of the Blizzard's goal.
In the 53rd minute a Terry Cooke corner kick found the head of Nkong whose shot on goal was corralled by the Blizzard keeper.
The Blizzard pulled even just seconds later when Maloney was left alone on the left sideline and made a cross to Brian Contreras whose rocket of a shot from the 18 just found its way into the goal past the outstretched arms of Rapids goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.
Coundoul was forced to come out of his goal in the 62nd minute to cut down the angle of an onrushing Blizzard player as Nat Borchers put on the pressure from behind.
Cunningham scored the game-winning goal for the Rapids in the 64th minute when he was on the receiving end of a Cooke through ball that beat the Blizzard offside trap. The Jamaican collected the ball nicely and coolly deposited it into the net.
Nkong’s tally was reminiscent of his goal against the Chicago Fire in May. The Cameroonian made a piercing run and played a give and go with Gonzalez just outside the 18 before he notched the third Rapids goal of the afternoon in the 78th minute.
In the 80th minute the newly-signed developmental player Fabrice Noel came onto the field for Ricky Lewis to log some playing time.
In the 82nd minute the Rapids closed their scoring account when Cunningham sent Gonzalez down the left flank. The SMU product took the ball and cut toward the near post. With no defenders between him and the replacement goalie Mike Archuletta Gonzalez placed the ball out of the ‘keeper’s reach and into the back of the net.
The Rapids will return to league action on Saturday when they travel to Giants Stadium to take on the MetroStars. The game will be broadcast live at 5:00pm MT on Altitude Sports and Entertainment.
RAPIDS – Beckerman (Unassisted) 18 Cunningham (Cooke) 64 Nkong (Gonzalez) 78 Gonzalez (Cunningham) 82
BLZ – Contreras (Maloney) 53
Bouna Coundoul Hunter Freeman (Ricky Lewis 46 Fabrice Noel 80) Amir Lowery (Nat Borchers 46) Dan Gargan (Mike Petke 46) Derek Phillips (Ritchie Kotchau 46)Sasha Gotsmanov (Terry Cooke 46) Kyle Beckerman (Leo Cullen 46) Guy Melamed (Alain Nkong 46) Edson Alvarado (Eric Denton 46) Wolde Harris (Jeff Cunningham 46) Montezuma Serrato (Luchi Gonzalez 46)