Rapids Drop Season Opener 5-2 to Houston Dynamo

DENVER CO (April 2 2006)- The Colorado Rapids dropped a 5-2 decision to the Houston Dynamo tonight in a match played at Robertson Stadium in Houston TX.

(To view video highlights from this match CLICK HERE).

Rapids goals by Kyle Beckerman and Jovan Kirovski were no match against the four strikes from forward Brian Ching who single-handedly lifted the newest Major League Soccer franchise to their first victory ever.

Second year forward Fabrice Noel and newly acquired striker Nicolas Hernandez created the best opportunities for the Rapids early on. Noel who had two one-on-one opportunities against goalkeeper Pat Onstad was unable to score. Hernandez’ right-footed shot in the 35th minute aimed for the upper left corner of Houston’s goal was denied by a spectacular save by the 2005 Goalkeeper of the Year.

The first goal of the night came in the 13th minute when Brian Ching finished a play from the opposite side of the field by pushing the ball into the open Rapids net.

The Rapids struck back barely a minute later when Kyle Beckerman took the ball in midfield well out from the Dynamo goal and blasted a left-footed bomb. The ball beat Onstad from 30 yards out to level the score.

Rapids head coach Fernando Clavijo was forced into a pair of major personnel decisions in the opening half-hour. Clint Mathis and Dedi Ben-Dayan both suffered injuries and had to be replaced by Fabrice Noel and Hunter Freeman respectively. Both players will be evaluated during the week by the Rapids medical staff.

Ching scored twice for the home team in similar ways. Dwayne De Rosario sent Brian Mullan deep on the right flank two times and twice the winger put in pinpoint crosses. Each time Ching came in to powerfully head home in the 36th and 44th minutes.

Just after the halftime break the Rapids once again pulled back into the game as Jovan Kirovski scored with a spectacular free kick that sailed over the Houston wall in the 53rd minute to cut the lead to one.

Ching netted his fourth of the night in the 72nd minute with yet another powerful header from inside the goal area.

The Rapids were left a man down when Pablo Mastroeni was sent off in the 85th minute for his second caution of the night coming on a tackle from behind on Alejandro Moreno. The Rapids captain will miss the team’s home opener.

Moreno finished the job in stoppage time with a spectacular full bicycle kick that ripped into the back of the Rapids net after De Rosario's cross from the left flank was knocked straight up into the air by a Colorado defender.

The Rapids will return to Denver tomorrow and hold four training sessions before hosting the Columbus Crew at INVESCO Field at Mile High on Saturday April 8th at 7:00 pm in the team’s 2006 Home Opener.

DATE: April 2 2006 -- Robertson Stadium

Goals by Period 1 2 Tot
Colorado 1 1 2
Houston 3 2 5

Scoring Summary:
HOU--Ching 1 (Barrett 1 De Rosario 1) 13
COL--Beckerman 1 (Ben-Dayan 1) 14
HOU--Ching 2 (Mullan 1 De Rosario 2) 37
HOU--Ching 3 (Mullan 2 De Rosario 3) 44
COL--Kirovski 1 (unassisted) 52
HOU--Ching 4 (De Rosario 4) 72
HOU--Moreno 1 (unassisted) 92+

COL -- Chris Wingert (caution; Pushing Holding) 32
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Reckless Foul) 48+
COL -- Mike Petke (caution; Tackle from Behind) 62
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (ejection; Second Caution) 86


COLORADO RAPIDS--Joe Cannon Eric Denton Pablo Mastroeni (Ejected 86) Mike Petke Chris Wingert Kyle Beckerman Terry Cooke Clint Mathis (Fabrice Noel 16) Dedi Ben Dayan (Hunter Freeman 34) Nicolas Hernandez (Cornell Glen 77) Jovan Kirovski.

TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Kirovski 2 Noel 2);SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Noel 2);FOULS: 20 (Mastroeni 4);OFFSIDE: 1;CORNER KICKS: 7;SAVES: Cannon 1;CAUTIONS: Wingert 32Mastroeni 48+ Petke 62;EJECTIONS: Mastroeni 86.

HOUSTON DYNAMO--Pat Onstad Wade Barrett Ryan Cochrane Kevin Goldthwaite Kelly Gray Ricardo Clark Dwayne De Rosario Brian Mullan Adrian Serioux Brian Ching Alejandro Moreno.

TOTAL SHOTS: 10 (Ching 6);SHOTS ON GOAL: 7 (Ching 5);FOULS: 20 (Ching 4);OFFSIDE: 2;CORNER KICKS: 3;SAVES: Onstad 3;CAUTIONS: None;EJECTIONS: None.

Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: George Vergara Kyle Borne
4th Official: Colin Tait.
Attendance: 25462.
Temperature: 82 and Clear.
Attendance: 25462