Rapids Tie Chicago Fire 0-0 in Preseason Match in Birmingham

Birmingham AL (Colorado Rapids Media Relations)- The Colorado Rapids tied the Chicago Fire 0-0 tonight in an exhibition match played at Hoover High School in Birmingham Alabama.

The first opportunity for the Rapids came early in the game when Jeff Cunningham sent a low cross to the opposite side of the penalty area where he found Martin Morales. The Uruguayan midfielder who was playing his first game with the Rapids since signing with the team just a couple of days ago hit a low shot that was controlled by goalkeeper Zach Thornton.

The Fire responded in the 12th minute when Chris Armas sent an outswinging cross into the heart of the Rapids' penalty area where he found defender Kelly Grey. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon who had joined the Rapids for this exhibition game in a three-day break from US National Team duty had to make a impressive diving save on Gray’s header to keep the match scoreless.

In the 14th minute a free kick just outside of Chicago’s penalty area set the stage for defender Guy Melamed to hit a powerful shot that was barely saved by Thornton with an impressive display of reflexes.

Another set piece in the 40th minute saw Morales’ shot go just inches wide of Chicago’s left post.

Former Columbus Crew defender Eric Denton who joined the Rapids camp as an invitee this week saved a sure goal in the 50th minute. Chicago’s forward Nate Jaqua headed a corner kick to the far post that had Cannon beaten but the tally was denied by Denton who cleared the ball off the goal line.

The Black and Blue came close to opening the scoring in the 62nd minute when defender Amir Lowery’s header hit the crossbar. Lowery beat a Fire defender to the ball off a corner kick by Mark Chung and saw his powerful header hit the crossbar after bouncing once in front of Thornton’s goal.

In the 88th minute a fantastic header by Chung was denied by a stunning save from the Fire goalkeeper. Midfielder Terry Cooke sent a cross into the heart of Chicago’s penalty area where Chung beat his defender to the ball with a diving header that was barely pushed past the left post of Chicago’s goal by a diving Thornton.

The resulting corner kick created the last opportunity of the night for the Rapids when Cooke curved his cross into the Fire’s penalty area. Melamed who had again joined Colorado’s attack headed the ball past Thornton but the Rapids were once again denied by the crossbar.

The Black and Blue will return to Denver tomorrow afternoon and hold four training sessions before departing to Houston TX where the team is scheduled to face Real Salt Lake for the first time ever this Saturday March 19th.

Rapids Lineups - Cannon Freeman Melamed Lowery Denton Henderson (Cooke 77’) Beckerman Nkong (Chung 59’) Morales Cunningham Peguero