Rapids Fall 1-2 in Season Opener At Chivas USA

CARSON CA. (Saturday March 21 2009) – The Colorado Rapids opened their 14th Major League Soccer season falling to Chivas USA 1-2 Saturday night at The Home Depot Center. Two second half goals from Chivas’ Paulo Nagamura within the span of four minutes snapped Colorado’s two-year streak of opening day wins.
(Click here to watch video highlights from the match).
The Rapids were the aggressors most of the first half and created the bulk of the contest’s scoring opportunities throughout the early part of the match. Colorado would out-shoot the Red-and-White ten to four in the first 45 minutes of play.
In the 12th minute Kosuke Kimura sent a ball across the box from the right side. Omar Cummings flicked the on-coming pass with his head to Conor Casey who was able to get a knee on the ball directing ot towards the target. Without a fingertip save from Chivas goalkeeper Zach Thornton and a bounce off the crossbar the Rapids would have taken an early lead.
Colorado would find the back of the net in the 30th minute when Omar Cummings buried a deflected shot off of Thornton’s chest to put the Rapids up 1-0. The play began on an Ugo Ihemelu throw-in that was sent right back to him from Mehdi Ballouchy. Ihemelu quickly fired low at the goal creating the deflection and eventual score.
Chivas USA registered their only shot on goal of the first half in the 41st minute when Sacha Kljestan was denied on a beautiful diving save from Matt Pickens who was making his Rapids debut securing the Colorado lead at the half.
In the second half Chivas USA came out with renewed energy resulting in two quick scores which the Rapids would not recover from.
In the 55th minute Nagamura found himself with the ball played into space. Picking his spot he beat Pickens with a low shot to the right corner to even the score.
Four minutes later Nagamura found himself in the right place at the right time again. Under pressure from a Chivas offensive attack Kimura could not get enough on his header clearance and placed the ball in the middle of the box. Nagamura seized the opportunity and again beat Pickens to the right side to give the home side the winning goal.
Colorado would make several substitutions trying to increase their offensive presence in the second half inserting Jacob Peterson and the recently-signed Gregory Richardson into the line-up but to no avail as Chivas was able to hold on for the win.
The Rapids return to Colorado this week to kick off their season at home with the opener at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park against the Kansas City Wizards this coming Saturday March 28 at 7:30 pm MT.
AT&T Rapids Man of the Match: Omar Cummings
Scoring Summary:
COL – Cummings (unassisted) 30
CHV - Nagamura (unassisted) 55
CHV - Nagamura (unassisted) 59
Chivas USA: Zach Thornton Shavar Thomas Paulo Nagamura Mariano Trujillo Carey Talley Jonathan Bornstein Jesse Marsch Sacha Kljestan Justin Braun Atiba Harris (Michael Lahoud 54) Eduardo Lillingston (Maykel Galindo 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Lance Parker Jim Curtin Alecko Eskandarian Jorge Flores Gerson Mayen
Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens Jordan Harvey Ugo Ihemelu Cory Gibbs Kosuke Kimura Nick LaBrocca (Jacob Peterson 70) Mehdi Ballouchy (Gregory Richardson 79) Pablo Mastroeni Colin Clark Conor Casey Omar Cummings
Substitutes Not Used: Preston Burpo Ty Harden Greg Dalby Terry Cooke Ivan Guerrero
Misconduct Summary:
CHV - Harris (caution; Reckless Foul) 51
CHV - Nagamura (caution; Reckless Tackle) 61
COL - Clark (caution; Reckless Tackle) 62
CHV - Marsch (caution; Reckless Tackle) 73
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Anthony Vasoli; Frank Anderson
Fourth Official: Kevin Stott
Attendance: 16453