(To view video highlights from this match CLICK HERE).
The Columbus Crew drew first blood in the 10th minute off of a set piece cross by Danny Szetela. The free kick came in from the left side of the defense and a crashing Chad Marshall rushed ahead to meet the ball with his left foot and scored from eight yards out.
Joe Cannon came up big for the Rapids in the 24th minute when Jacob Thomas dribbled into the left side of the box and crossed a ball that Kei Kamara dropped back to Szetela. Cannon kicked out his legs just in time to parry away the low shot.
The Rapids equalized in the 35th minute from the head of Jovan Kirovski. A give-and-go on the Rapids' right wing between Cooke and Jean Philippe Peguero sprung the Englishman down the sideline. Kirovski helped flood the box with black and blue jerseys as the man marking him trailed by a step. When Cooke’s ball hit the diving head of Kirovski it marked the first time the two former Manchester United youth products have connected for a Rapids goal.
Kyle Beckerman put the Rapids ahead with his second goal of the year off of Cooke’s second assist of the night in the 50th minute. In the last of a series of corners Nicolas Hernandez played a long cross to the back post where Cooke one-timed a ball back to Beckerman who uncorked a long-range bomb that hit the back of the net for the second game running.
Two saves by Cannon in the 60th and 62nd minutes kept the Rapids in the lead. The first save was off a header by Rusty Pierce and the second was from a long shot by former Rapids player Ritchie Kotschau which had deflected off the crossbar.
Cooke picked up his third assist in the 67th minute when his right-sided cross found a wide open Noel in the six-yard box. In his first professional start the young Haitian expertly headed the ball home for the second goal of his career.
Just a minute later Noel came off the pitch and Jacob Peterson came on to replace him and make his major league debut. Peterson had an excellent opportunity to put the home side up 4-1 on a great sliding shot in front of the Crew goal but his effort went wide.
The Rapids will be back in action this coming Saturday April 15th when they take on Western Conference rivals FC Dallas at 7 p.m. at INVESCO Field. Colorado knocked Dallas out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinals last season.
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Terry Cooke
CLB – Marshall (Szetela) 10'
COL – Kirovski (Cooke Peguero) 35'
COL – Beckerman (Cooke Hernandez) 50'
COL – Noel (Cooke) 67'
Colorado Rapids -- Joe Cannon Hunter Freeman Chris Wingert Mike Petke Eric Denton Terry Cooke Kyle Beckerman Jovan Kirovski Nicolas Hernandez (Dan Gargan 75) Fabrice Noel (Jacob Peterson 69) Jean Philippe Peguero (Luchi Gonzalez 83)
Substitutes Not Used: Bouna Coundoul Daniel Wasson Jordan Harvey Stephen Keel
Columbus Crew – Jon Busch Frankie Hejduk Chad Marshall Rusty Pierce Ritchie Kotschau Jacob Thomas Eddie Gaven Brandon Moss (Jose Retiz 69) Danny Szetela (Eric Vasquez 69) Kyle Martino Kei Kamara (John Wolyniec 58)
Substitutes Not Used: Bill Gaudette Knox Cameron Joel Kitamirke Tim Ward
CLB – Moss (Caution 13)
CLB – Hejduk (Caution 54)
COL – Beckerman (Caution 59)
COL – Freeman (Caution 73)
COL – Gardan (Caution 81)
CLB – Retiz (Caution 83)
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Emiliano Monje; Paul Scott
4th Official: Colin Tait
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 63 degrees