HONOLULU, Hawaii (Friday, February 24, 2012) – The Colorado Rapids dropped a 2-1 decision to Yokohama F.C. in the team’s opening match of the Hawaiian Islands Invitational on Thursday night at Aloha Stadium. Yokohama scored twice in the second half, and while Rapids defender Drew Moor pulled a goal back, Colorado could not complete the comeback. The Rapids will face Melbourne Heart F.C. of Australia on Saturday evening in the consolation match of the tournament.
The Rapids had the better of the chances in the first half, and nearly got on the board within a minute of the opening whistle. Earning a corner just seconds into the game, defender Luis Zapata took the kick and found Moor, whose header went just wide. Midfielder Jeff Larentowicz also had a shot from about 15 yards go just wide. Yokohama forward Hiroaki Namba had a shot saved by Rapids keeper Matt Pickens, and the game entered the half scoreless.
Once again, the Rapids controlled possession to start the second half, but it was Namba who gave Yokohama the lead against the run of play. After a foul by Zapata 45 yards from goal, the resulting free kick was flighted in by Toyoma Uchida, who found Namba for a free header to give the Japanese club a 1-0 advantage in minute 57. Seven minutes later, Namba struck again, scoring from close range after Takahiro Nakazato’s mis-hit shot fell at his feet.
Colorado continued pushing forward, and the combination that almost scored so early in the game finally found the net. In the 73rd minute, Moor finished a Zapata corner to pull the game to 2-1. The Rapids had several more chances, and even after midfielder Wells Thompson was ejected for a foul on Kazuyoshi Miura, Colorado could have tied the game. With little time on the clock, Omar Cummings crossed to Jaime Castrillón, whose close-range header went just wide.
The Rapids will now face Melbourne Heart F.C., who lost to Korea’s Buson I’Park on penalties in Thursday’s first game, in the consolation match. Saturday’s game against Melbourne will kick off at 5:00 p.m. HT (8:00 p.m. MT) at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com.
YOK – Hiroaki Namba (Toyoma Uchida) 57
YOK – Hiroaki Namba (Takahiro Nakazato) 64
COL – Drew Moor (Luis Zapata) 73
Colorado Rapids – Matt Pickens, Luis Zapata, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Kosuke Kimura, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni (Josh Janniere 86), Jaime Castrillón, Tony Cascio (Quincy Amarikwa 57), Omar Cummings, Brian Mullan (Wells Thompson 64)
COL – Luis Zapata (caution) 55
COL – Wells Thompson (ejection) 87