Xochimilco Mexico City (February 26 2007)- The Colorado Rapids closed their Mexico preseason tour today with a 2-2 tie against Cruz Azul in a game played at Cruz Azul’s training facility at La Noria in Mexico City. The game against Cruz Azul was played with two forty-minute halves and a 15-minute halftime.
The first goal of the match came early in the game when Mexican international Jared Borgetti pushed the ball into the back of the Rapids’ net. Midfielder Gabriel Pereira found enough space outside of Colorado’s penalty area to slam a powerful low shot that beat Bouna Coundoul to his left side. Coundoul touched the ball and deflected it onto the left post. The ball bounced back towards the penalty spot where Borgetti was lurking. The former Pachuca striker pushed the ball into the open net for the 1-0 lead.
The tying goal for the Rapids came in spectacular fashion in the 35th minute. Cruz Azul recovered the ball back in their area where they started a quick counterattack with a dangerous long ball intended for Borgetti. The play was broken down by Rapids defender Greg Vanney who played a quick ball to Kyle Beckerman in midfield. Beckerman slipped a pass into an onrushing Jovan Kirovski who carried the ball to the endline before sending a cross into the heart of Cruz Azul’s penalty area. Herculez Gomez who followed the play on the opposite wing met the cross inside of the area with a diving header that beat Azul ‘keeper Yosgart Gutierrez to his far post.
Colorado took the lead 10 minutes into the second half when Omar Cummings found the back of Cruz Azul’s net. Second half Rapids goalkeeper Matt Jordan sent a long ball into the home team’s territory where it was met by trialist Angel "Rambo" Sosa. Sosa chest trapped the ball and one-timed a through ball that sent Cummings in a one-on-one against Gutierrez. Cummings went around the keeper and pushed the ball calmly into the open net for the Colorado lead.
With only three minutes left in regulation Cruz Azul defender Roberto Caceres tied the game for the home team. Caceres received a short pass from Uruguayan midfielder Richard Nuñez 10 yards outside of the penalty area. The defender connected with the ball and sent a powerful 35-yard bomb that beat Jordan to the upper right corner of the goal.
This result added to Saturday’s 1-0 win over Universidad Panamericana in Pachuca gives the Rapids a cumulative 3-0-1 record in this preseason Mexico trip.
"I’m very pleased with the progression of the team so far during this preseason said Rapids Head Coach Fernando Clavijo. "We haven’t jeopardized the fitness aspect of the group and have been able to be competitive while evaluating players. The progression of the team in this preseason has met the expectations that we had set up before we left Colorado."
The Rapids will hold one training session tomorrow at La Noria at 10:00 am in their last day in Mexico City. The team will return to Denver on Wednesday February 28 and will have a couple of days off. They will return to training on March 5 at their new home of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.