Rapids Keep Playoff Hopes Alive With 2-1 Win Over Chivas USA

CARSON CA. (Sunday October 19 2008)The Colorado Rapids entered Sunday afternoon’s match against Chivas USA with a simple equation to keep their postseason hopes adrift: win and stay alive or not win and be eliminated.
Conor Casey’s game-winning penalty kick in the 85th minute helped lift the Rapids to a 2-1 victory and set the stage for a playoff berth showdown next week against arch-rivals Real Salt Lake.
(To watch free video highlights from this game click here).
With the win the Rapids moved into fourth place in the Western Conference on 37 points two points behind Real Salt Lake for the final automatic spot in the West. Colorado also stand two points behind Kansas City and New York who currently hold the two wild card positions. A win this coming Saturday for the Rapids over RSL at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the regular season finale and Colorado will advance to the playoffs.
The Rapids held most of the offensive attack throughout the match as they out-shot Chivas 12 to 5. Their aggressive play also led to two penalty kick situations including Casey’s game-winner.
Chivas USA came into the game having already clinched second place in the Western Conference playoff standings but the home team still played with a strong grit and determination.
Colorado had scoring chances in the match’s first 20 minutes but could not convert. Pablo Mastroeni played a beautiful ball into Tom McManus who quickly flicked it onto Casey with his head in the box. Casey was not able to capitalize as his shot missed over the crossbar.
The Rapids again had a great opportunity following a foul at the top of the 18. McManus's shot however rebounded off the Chivas wall and Colin Clark’s follow-up shot was saved.
Bouna Coundoul playing in net for Colorado for the first time since August 9 was able to keep a clean sheet in the first half as both team entered the break locked at 0-0.
In the 56th minute Jordan Harvey was fouled in the box by Alex Zotinca setting up the match’s first penalty kick. Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy would step up to the challenge however making a diving save to deny McManus of the goal and keep the score even.
Omar Cumming entered the match moments later subbing for McManus and his entrance paid quick dividends. Terry Cooke played a ball into Cummings down the right side of the pitch which he sent across the face of the goal to a wide open Colin Clark. Clark buried the game’s first goal with a header to the far post in the 67th minute.
Chivas would even the score at 1-1 minutes later when Jonathan Bornstein connected on his second goal of the season as the Colorado defense could not clear the ball from the middle of the box.
Casey’s late game heroics were set up by the hard work and effort of Cummings. Working against Shavar Thomas Cummings was fouled inside the box giving the Rapids a second penalty kick opportunity. Casey stepped to the spot and fired a shot to the right post past Kennedy for the 2-1 lead.
Colorado would hold on through three minutes of injury time to claim their third road win in their last four contests and will now return to Colorado to prepare this week for Saturday's all-important final regular season game.
Scoring Summary:
COL- Clark (Cummings Cooke) 67
CHV- Bornstein (unassisted) 72
COL- Casey (penalty kick) 85
Chivas USA:
Dan Kennedy Alex Zotinca Bobby Burling Shavar Thomas Jonathan Bornstein Atiba Harris Jesse Marsch Sasha Victorine (Sacha Kjestan 25) Justin Braun (Carey Talley 65) Alecko Eskandarian Ante Razov (Dejair 61)
Substitutes Not Used: Lance Parker Jim Curtin Francisco Mendoza Roberto Nurse
Colorado Rapids: Bouna Coundoul Kosuke Kimura (Terry Cooke 65) Ugo Ihemelu Mike Petke (Facundo Erpen 71) Jordan Harvey Mehdi Ballouchy Nick LaBrocca Pablo Mastroeni Colin Clark Tom McManus (Omar Cummings 58) Conor Casey
Substitutes Not Used: Preston Burpo Stephen Keel John DiRaimondo Jacob Peterson
Misconduct Summary:
CHV- Burling (reckless tackle) 16
CHV- Braun (unsporting behavior) 35
COL- McManus (unsporting behavior) 35
COL- Harvey (reckless tackle) 40
CHV- Talley (reckless tackle) 93+
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referees Assts.: Anthony Vasoli Emiliano Monje
Fourth Official: Ramon Hernandez
Attendance: 13427