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Moor scores, Rapids soar

October 2, 2011 | 1:36 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

It was as match a wrestling match as a battle of soccer teams on Saturday. Here, Brian Mullan tangles with two Dallas defenders. Colorado won 1-0. (Photograph by Joel Baud/ColoradoSoccerNow.com)

The Saturday night showdown between FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids was not so much a rematch of the 2010 MLS Cup as it was a desperate 90 minutes for two teams stumbling toward the playoffs.

Colorado came in winless in its last five MLS matches (0-3-2) and Dallas arrived on a string of getting shutout in three straight matches. For the teams clinging to the top two wild card spots, neither side was in a position to allow for too many errors.

Mercifully for the Rapids, the team with the biggest chinks in its armor proved to be the visitors from Texas.

Drew Moor, whom FC Dallas traded to Colorado in 2009, rose to get a head on a Sanna Nyassi corner kick in the 25th minute and deliver the game’s only goal. Matt Pickens was solid in the net and the Rapids weathered a late challenge while a man down to win 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the team’s first home win since Aug. 5.

With the victory, the Rapids improved to 11-9-12, 45 points, with two matches remaining. Dallas — shutout for the fourth game in a row — dropped to 13-11-7, 46 points, with three matches remaining.

The result likely meant that both sides will make the postseason, but with several teams still having four games to play after the weekend, it’s too soon to start making playoff decisions in Dallas or Denver.

The LA Galaxy, Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake have all booked playoff spots. The top three spots in the Eastern Conference are still to be sorted with six teams bunched only seven points apart. The top three from the East will go through with the remainder battling FC Dallas and the Rapids for the four wild card spots.

Next Up: The Rapids get a rest. Colorado’s two regular season MLS matches include a home date with Salt Lake on Oct. 14, and a visit to the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps on Oct. 22.

In the final group stage match of the CONCACAF Champions League, Colorado travels to Santos Laguna on Oct. 19 to face a side that is already in the CCL quarterfinals. The Rapids need a win to advance in the champions league or a tie and some lucky circumstances to move forward.

Still Searching: Murphy Brown had greater success finding an assistant than coach Gary Smith has in finding a leftback. Moor, Anthony Wallace, Danny Earls, Scott Palguta and even Wells Thompson have spent some time in the spot. The latest choice, Miguel Comminges, was sent off for a second yellow card on Saturday. This means he will be sitting out on Oct. 14, and another back will have a chance in the unsettled corner.

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