Rapids Defeat Los Angeles 3-2 Thanks to Conor Casey's Hat Trick

CARSON CA. (Saturday April 4 2009) – Colorado forward Conor Casey recorded his second career hat trick as the Rapids won their second straight match by the score of 3-2 over the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center Saturday night.
(Click here for video highlights from this match).
The Rapids could not have asked for a better start as Casey netted his first goal just 16 seconds into the match. The goal was the second-quickest scored in the 14-year history of Major League Soccer (Dwane DeRosario scored the fastest at 11 seconds in 2003).
With Los Angeles taking the opening kickoff Alan Gordon played the ball back to Chris Klein. Klein trying to keep the ball from going out of bounds cleared it to Colorado’s Ugo Ihemelu. Ihemelu played the ball into space ahead of Omar Cummings down the right side of the pitch. As Cummings drew in the defense he found Casey with a pass across the center of the net allowing him to tap it in for the game’s first score and a very early Rapids lead.
The Galaxy would even the score at 1-1 before the half as Omar Gonzalez finished a corner kick from the foot of Landon Donovan in the 37th minute.
The second half began with a flurry of goals as LA took their only lead of the game in the 48th minute. Sean Franklin found himself with the ball on the right side working his way back to the middle of the field while he battled through multiple Colorado defenders. Franklin managed to squeeze a pass into Donovan who with his second touch played a ball to Alan Gordon with the outside of his right foot setting Gordon up for the open net conversion.
The Los Angeles advantage was short lived though as just a minute later Casey registered his second goal in similar fashion coming from Cummings. With an exact same look as his tally at the start of the match Cummings carried the ball down the right side of the pitch and played a pass across the face of the goal to Casey who again was able to tap in the score.
The Galaxy would find themselves playing a man down over the last 31 minutes of action following the red card ejection of Dema Kovalenko as a result of his cleats-up foul on Mehdi Ballouchy.
Casey concluded his stellar night with the game-winner in the 84th minute with the assist coming from Colin Clark. Clark picked the ball off of Franklin and raced ahead before feeding Casey into space. Casey dribbled the ball into the box and right around an on-coming goalkeeper Josh Saunders before calmly sliding the ball into the net.
The victory was the Rapids' first in Los Angeles since May 20 2006 and gave Colorado a perfect start to their three-game road trip.
The Rapids will remain in Los Angeles as they take on the Galaxy three nights later in a U.S. Open Cup Play-In match at The Home Depot Center on Tuesday April 7 at 9 pm MT. Colorado returns to regular season action next Saturday traveling to face the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew on April 11.
AT&T Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Conor Casey
Scoring Summary:
COL- Casey (Cummings Ihemelu) 1
LA- Gonzalez (Donovan) 37
LA- Gordon (Donovan Franklin) 48
COL- Casey (Cummings) 49
COL- Casey (Clark) 84
Colorado Rapids: Preston Burpo Kosuke Kimura Cory Gibbs (Ty Harden 88) Ugo Ihemelu Jordan Harvey Nick LaBrocca Mehdi Ballouchy (Jacob Peterson 79) Pablo Mastroeni (Terry Cooke 68) Colin Clark Conor Casey Omar Cummings
Substitutes Not Used: Steward Ceus Greg Dalby Ivan Guerrero Ross Schunk
LA Galaxy: Josh Saunders Omar Gonzalez Tony Sanneh Sean Franklin Eddie Lewis (A.J. DeLaGarza 77) Chris Klein Dema Kovalenko Josh Tudela Kyle Patterson (Stefani Miglioranzi 62) Landon Donovan Alan Gordon (Bryan Jordan 82)
Substitutes Not Used: Miguel Benitez Gregg Berhalter Jovan Kirovski Yohance Marshall
Misconduct Summary:
COL- Gibbs (caution; Dissent) 46+
LA- Kovalenko (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 59
COL- Casey (caution; Persistent Infringement) 63
COL- Ballouchy (caution; Tactical Foul) 66
Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; Frank Anderson
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Attendance: 16709