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Rapids escape Houston with 2-2 tie

June 26, 2010 | 7:40 pm 2
By Shaun Schafer

The  Colorado Rapids split the points with the Houston Dynamo on a steamy night in Texas.

Goals from Conor Casey and an own goal provided the scoring for the Rapids on the road. Danny Cruz and Joseph Ngwenya provided the scoring for Houston.

With the tie, Colorado moves to 6-3-3 (21 points). Houston rests at 5-7-2 (17 points).

It was a shaky outing for both squads as Major League Soccer came back from a two-week World Cup break. Each team missed on passes, touches were heavy and tactical movement was ragged.

Colorado took a 2-1 lead in the 71st minute when Omar Cummings collided with Lovel Palmer on a Jamie Smith corner kick and the ball rocketed in near the back post.

Sixty seconds later, midfielder Danny Cruz fired a blast that pinged off both posts and out. In the 79th, Joseph Ngwenya equalized with a rocket.

Perhaps it was appropriate that it was Ngwenya. In the 59th minute, Matt Pickens bailed out the Rapids, somehow punching a mitt on a snap shot from a free-flying Ngwenya. It salvaged the tie and saved the Rapids during a period when the team seemed loss.

Houston drew first blood in the 17th minute. Cruz latched on to Corey Ashe pass and snuck the shot past Matt Pickens to the far post. The shot came from long range off of a corner kick, and Pickens appeared to be screened.

Just before the half, the Rapids started to pull it together. Mehdi Ballouchy picked off an errant pass, raced into the box and slid it to Conor Casey. Casey let the ball run, pulled it outside with Pat Onstad chasing, and then laced the ball into the back of the net.

Carded: Jeff Larentowicz picked up a yellow card in the 69th minute after colliding with Cruz. Larentowicz’s knee caught Cruz in the diaphram as the two collided outside the box.

The foul was emblematic of the night Larentowicz had. He was just a little off on this timing. It was his worst game of the season and it was probably for the best when Wells Thompson came on in the 83rd minute.

Rapids 11: The Rapids came out in a 4-5-1. Pickens, Drew Moor, Danny Earls, Marvell Wynne, Scott Palguta, Ballouchy, Larentowicz (Thompson, 83), Jamie Smith (Colin Clark, 76), Pablo Mastroeni, Cummings (Ross LaBauex, 91) and Casey.

Houston’s 11: Onstad, Mike Chabala (Dominic Oduro, 75), Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson (Ryan Cochrane, 46), Andrew Hainault, Corey Ashe (Brian Mullan, 62), Brad Davis, Lovel Palmer, Cruz, Brian Ching and Ngwenya.

Travels: This was the first meeting between the two teams this season. Houston will travel to Colorado for an Aug. 28 match. August is an excellent time to not be in Houston.

July’s Crucible: Under the anvil of the sun, July will be the month that forges Colorado’s future. The team plays five games during the month. Pick up three wins, and Colorado is doing great. Anything less may mean it is time to start worrying in a Western Conference that looks loaded.

Next Up: The Rapids return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the July 4 extravaganza. Colorado plays the New York Red Bulls and then follows the game with a fireworks. Commerce City never looks better than in the glow of fireworks.

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  • george tanner said:

    all this and an Alarm reference, too!

  • Shaun Schafer said:

    Most people won’t get the Alarm reference. Thank you, George, thank you.

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