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A beautiful ending on an ugly night

June 5, 2010 | 10:41 pm 1
By Shaun Schafer

Colorado Rapids Drew Moor is interviewed after the game against the Columbus Crew June 5 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Moor scored the winning and only goal. (Photograph by Jessica Taves/ColoradoSoccerNow.com)

Jamie Smith and Drew Moor connected in the 85th minute to turn a night of unattractive soccer headed for a nothing-nothing draw into a Colorado Rapids win.

Smith, a 74th minute substitute, delivered the perfect free kick to the far post and Moor out leapt a defender to give the shorthanded Rapids a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew Saturday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in front of 14,318.

Smith got his first assist of the season on Moor’s first goal of 2010 as the header beat ‘keeper Will Hesmer to his right. The goal proved to be enough for the Rapids to improve to 6-3-1 (19 points) and drop the Crew to 6-2-3 (21 points) heading into a summer break.

It was the sublime moment in an otherwise balky game where neither side showed much urgency. Perhaps everyone got up too early to watch the US beat Australia 3-1 in the final World Cup tuneup. Or maybe players on both sides were thinking about the coming two week hiatus for the World Cup. Whatever the case, neither side seemed capable of grabbing control of the game, leaving the heroics to an unexpected duo.

Defenders Moor and Danny Earls had been sparks for the Rapids throughout the night. Darting runs from Earls and stalwart defense from Moor had been among the few highlights. Their efforts were atypical on a night where players missed passes, sent crosses sailing out of bounds and gave balls away too easily. It was an evening where one bad pass was greeted by another.

Each team’s stars seemed off the page or off the pitch. The Crew’s Guillermo Barros Schelotto consistently missed on free kicks aimed for the box and badly handled a shot on a three-on-two break in the 74th minute. Conor Casey showed his greatest passion in confronting referee Kevin Stott about a no-call after Omar Cummings was sandwiched between two players in the box, earning the Rapids’ forward a 42nd minute yellow card. Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni was sent off in the 77th minute for lunging in retaliation after being taken down near midfield.

However, the Rapids now get 21 days to ponder the foibles and enjoy a shutout victory. Plus, with the unlikely pair of Smith and Moor connecting, Colorado enjoys sole possession of third place, a point behind Salt Lake, and the taste of winning for the next three weeks.

(Update: I’m a fool, and I forgot that the Chicago game was moved to June 9. The break doesn’t start until then. My bad.)

Columbus 11: Hesmer, Eric Brunner (Jed Zayner 53), Andy Iro, Chad Marshall, Gina Padula (Emilio Renteria 86), Adam Moffat (Emmanuel Ekpo 80), Brian Carroll, Eddie Gaven, Robbie Rogers, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Steven Lenhart 
Colorado 11: Matt Pickens, Marvell Wynne, Moor, Julien Baudet (Scott Palguta 76), Earls, Mehdi Ballouchy (Smith 74), Jeff Larentowicz, Mastroeni, Colin Clark, Casey (Wells Thompson 65), Cummings. 

Clark Starts: Showing a rounding into form after return from injury, Clark started on the left side of midfield and played the full 90. His inclusion in the starting 11 moved Thompson to the bench. Thompson came on for an ineffective Casey, a move that sent Cummings up as the lone striker.

Coming Next: The Rapids, like the rest of the world, can turn on World Cup games starting Friday. The team is off until traveling to Houston for a June 26 game in that Texas sweatbox. The next home game is the July 4 fireworks extravaganza against the New York Red Bulls.

Until Then: Colorado’s next home game will also be Mastroeni’s next game. The midfielder will be serving a mandatory one-game suspension for his Saturday night expulsion.

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One Comment »

  • george tanner said:

    “texas sweatbox”? them’s fightin’ words, son!

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