Rapids Drop Match vs. Valencia 4-3

VALENCIA SPAIN ( - The Colorado Rapids experienced the first loss of their overseas preseason spring training trip today by the score of 4-3 to Valencia at Spain's historic Mestalla Stadium.
Kyle Beckerman tallied and Jovan Kirovski scored a brace for the American side.
The Rapids had the first scoring opportunity on the night as Niko Hernandez earned a free kick for the Rapids in the third minute 30 yards from goal. Greg Vanney took a short pass and hit his shot just over the crossbar.
Zach Thornton made his first save of the game less than a minute later as Valencia counter-attacked quickly and were able to create a shot from inside the Rapids’ penalty area.
A 23rd minute Valencia corner kick nearly produced the game’s first goal. The corner was played short and the ball eventually fell to a man outside the box whose shot was stopped at the near post by Thornton.
Valencia took the lead in the 35th minute. After Valencia had earned a free kick outside the Colorado penalty area and the Rapids were setting up their wall Del Horno took the kick quickly to the far side of the goal and it rolled into the empty side of the net as Thornton was directing traffic.
The Rapids equalized in the 37th minute by way of a Jovan Kirovski penalty kick. Hernandez knifed into the Valencia penalty area where a lazy tackle took him out and earned the penalty for the visitors. Kirovski stepped up and calmly put it into the upper corner.
The home side re-took the lead through a penalty kick of their own in the 40th minute. Ugo Ihemelu was called for the foul when his man went down after a shoulder to shoulder challenge. Spanish national team veteran Joaquin took the penalty and put it deftly past Thornton.
Valencia’s third goal came in the 43rd minute. Joaquin drove down the right side of the Rapids’ defense before cutting the ball back to a waiting Romero who drilled it into the back of the net.
Joaquin struck again in the 56th minute. A pass put him behind the Rapids’ defense and then he beat Thornton to his right for Valencia’s fourth goal.
The Rapids got another goal in the 58th minute when 2006 MLS assist leader Terry Cooke found Kyle Beckerman in the Valencia penalty area. The Rapids’ co-leading scorer from 2006 brought the ball down with his left foot and easily put it past the ‘keeper with his right.
In the 65th minute Kirovski pulled the Rapids to within one of the Spanish club. A Cooke corner kick found Ihemelu whose header was met by Omar Cummings’ head and was redirected into the far post; Kirovski was perfectly poised to put the rebound into the back of the net net.
The Rapids will return Colorado later this week and then travel to Las Vegas for the club’s final preseason game before they take on D.C. United at 1:30 in the MLS season opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods park on April 7.
Colorado Rapids vs. Valencia CF
Preseason Friendly
Mestalla Stadium Valencia Spain
VAL- Del Horno 35
COL- Kirovski (penalty kick) 37
VAL- Joaquín (penalty kick) 40
VAL- Romero (Joaquín) 43
VAL- Joaquín 56
COL- Beckerman (Cooke) 58
COL- Kirovski (Cummings Ihemelu) 65
Rapids Lineup: Zach Thornton Dan Gargan (Chris Wingert 59) Mike Petke (Stephen Keel 64) Ugo Ihemelu (Colin Clark 69) Greg Vanney Terry Cooke Kyle Beckerman Jovan Kirovski Herculez Gomez Roberto Brown (Omar Cummings 61) Nicolas Hernandez
Valencia Lineup: Butelle Curro Torres Del Horno Ayala Moretti Albiol Joaquín Pallardó Guerra Nacho Insa Romero.
Subsitutes: Mora Cristian Castells Cristian Bustos Aarón Córcoles Montoso and Pierrick.