OXBOROUGH, Mass. – Fernando Cárdenas dug into his bag of tricks and pulled out a golazo, scoring six minutes before halftime to give New England a 2-1 victory over Colorado at Gillette Stadium.
Cardenas marked his first start since the season opener with a looping finish over Matt Pickens to separate the sides, giving New England a lead they were able to hang onto and end a three-game skid.
Both sides generated plenty of chances and paid for some suspect work at the back during an engaging opening stanza.
Colorado persevered through an early Revolution surge to capture the lead when Jaime Castrillón shook off his marker all too easily in the 21st minute, surging toward the near post to thump home Martin Rivero's inviting service for his second goal of the season.
It took just six minutes for the Revs to draw level through Saer Sène. José Moreno retained possession after a corner kick and played the ball toward Clyde Simms in the middle third. Simms hit a diagonal ball for Stephen McCarthy to flick on at the back stick. That touch caught the Rapids defense flatfooted and permitted Sène to sweep home his third goal of the campaign from eight yards.
A.J. Soares and Tony Cascio exchanged chances in the aftermath of that goal, but Cárdenas ensured the Revs would enter halftime with the lead with an alert finish six minutes before the break. Moreno and Sène combined to play the ball to Cardenas on the right side of the penalty area. The Colombian midfielder cut inside and floated his effort over the adrift Matt Pickens to notch his first MLS goal.
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Rivero signaled Colorado's intent to respond with his effort shortly after play resumed. His early chance marked the start of a positive spell for the Rapids as the second half began. Castrillón nearly grabbed his second in the 69th minute after Jeff Larentowicz found him with a diagonal ball from the right side, but Matt Reis pushed the resulting attempt over the bar.
That chance stood out as the best opportunity for the Rapids to snatch an equalizer in the late stages, but the Revs limited the Rapids in front of goal as Reis preserved his 100th MLS win. The defeat snapped the Rapids' eight-match unbeaten run over the Revolution and handed the home side its first victory in the series since a 1-0 win on Sept. 29, 2007.
The Rapids made two changes to the starting defense that had started seven of the first eight games. Tyrone Marshall started at center back in place of Marvell Wynne, who strained a hamstring during training on Tuesday. And, Hunter Freeman started at right back in place of Kosuke Kimura, marking his first start for the club since his first stint ended in 2006.
New England will attempt to make it two wins from two at Real Salt Lake on Saturday, while Colorado will travel to Frisco to face FC Dallas on Sunday (5 pm MT, Altitude TV).
COL - Jaime Castrillon 2 (Martin Rivero 3) 21
NE - Saer Sène 4 (Steven McCarty, Clyde Symms) 27'
NE - Fernando Cárdenas (Saer Sène) 39'
Colorado Rapids lineup: Matt Pickens, Hunter Freeman (Kamani Hill 76), Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Luis Zapata, Jeff Larentowicz, Jaime Castrillon, Martin Rivero (Andre Akpan 85), Brian Mullan, Tony Cascio, Omar Cummings
Subs not used: Stew Ceus, Scott Palguta, Joseph Nane, Wells Thompson
New England lineup: Matt Reis, Kevin Alston (Darrius Barnes 43), Chris Tierney, Benny Feilhaber, Stephen McCarthy, Clyde Symms, Shalrie Joseph, Fernando Cardenas (Björn Runström 85), Jose Moreno (Lee Nguyen 69), Saer Sene
Referee: Terry Vaughn