Categorized | Match Reports

Rapids hold Fire to 1-1 draw

Posted on 15 April 2007 by Jeff Cann

Hosts play a man down after early ejection

by Jeff Cann

Denver, CO April 15, 2007 — (ASN) On a windy and cool evening, the Colorado Rapids tied Eastern Conference powerhouse Chicago Fire at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. After both teams won their opening day matches last week, each now holds a 1-0-1 record [4 pts.].

Rapids coach Fernando Clavijo lauded his team’s performance.

“We don’t want to lose any points at home, but it could have been much worse,” he said. “I give credit to the whole team. We had an outstanding attitude and discipline for 85 minutes. One breakdown and they found the back of the net. Even with 10 players we tried to score and we found the back of the net.”

The match started with a hard tackle by Rapids striker Roberto Brown. In the sixth minute, Fire defender C.J. Brown went down in a heap with a scream audible in the press box. Ricardo Brown was shown straight red by referee Jair Marrufo. C.J. Brown returned to the game no worse for the wear. The Rapids fans booed him every time he touched the ball for the remainder of the game.

After the red card, the teams played most of the first half in the Rapids end. Despite the man advantage for nearly 40 minutes, the Fire were unable to score . In fact, both teams could not generate scoring opportunities and totaled 3 shots on goal by halftime.

In the 29th minute, the Rapids made clear their defensive posture when Clavijo substituted Jovan Kirovski for Pablo Mastroeni.

“We sacrificed [striker] Nicholas Hernandez by moving him to left midfield,” said Clavijo, describing his change in tactics. “Then we moved Herculez [Gomez] up front. We knew he was going to take a chance. We also replaced Jovan Kirovski with Pablo Mastroeni, and I think this worked extremely well.”

Fire coach Dave Sarachan observed that his team was unable to take advantage of the wide pitch.

“We needed to do a better job of playing forward,” Sarachan said. “We played a lot of negative balls tonight, and against 10 men sitting back that is not going to get you very far. [Our game plan] was not executed as we had hoped. The guys in front of the ball were not getting into open spots early enough. We needed a lot more wide play than we got.”

“It was a tough game, although we felt pretty confident once they got the red card. We didn’t do as well as we should have with a man advantage. With that advantage, we should have won…”Fire defender Gonzalo Segares

In the second half both teams again played conservatively. The Rapids took advantage of a mistake with an odd-man rush on goal. Gomez, playing up front after Brown’s ejection, took a ball past three Fire defenders. His hard shot struck the back of the far corner in the 58th minute. Gomez was voted Man of the Match for the second straight week.

“It wasn’t my best day on the ball, but I tried to be honest and work hard for our team,” Gomez said. “Being a man down, I needed to be that outlet. In the second half, I thought we did very well. We came out of here with a great sense of pride.”

For the next 20 minutes, the Fire continued to push, if softly, against the 10-man Rapids. It was in the 85th minute when Chicago generated an excellent scoring chance. All but one of the Rapids defenders stepped up on a ball sent over the back line by Fire striker Chris Rolfe. This lapse left the other Fire striker, Chad Barrett, facing goalkeeper Bouna Condoul alone, six yards in front of the net. It was an easy score for Barrett who placed it near post past a sprawling Condoul.

Despite the late equalizer, the Rapids appeared positive on the result.

“We stuck to our game plan after the red card,” Gomez said. “We wanted to stay tight and compact. We wanted to pick and choose our moments [when we could attack]. I think it is unfortunate that they scored that goal, but it shows a lot that we held them off for 85 minutes.”

Next week, the Rapids travel to Texas to play FC Dallas, who lost 3-0 to the Red Bulls earlier today at Giants Stadium.

Scoring Summary:













COL — Herculez Gomez 2 (Nicolas Hernandez 1, Bouna Coundoul 1) 58
CHI — Chad Barrett 1 (Chris Rolfe 2) 85

Bouna Coundoul, Brandon Prideaux, Ugo Ihemelu, Mike Petke, Greg Vanney, Terry Cooke (Dan Gargan 88), Kyle Beckerman, Jovan Kirovski (Pablo Mastroeni 29), Herculez Gomez, Roberto Brown, Nicolas Hernandez,
Substitutes Not Used: Jose Cancela, Nico Colaluca, Jacob Peterson, Zach Thornton, Chris Wingert


Matt Pickens, C.J. Brown (Thiago 46), Jim Curtin (Calen Carr 79), Gonzalo Segares, Logan Pause, Chris Armas, Diego Gutierrez (Pascal Bedrossian 70), Justin Mapp, Ivan Guerrero, Chad Barrett, Chris Rolfe,
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Busch, Brian Plotkin, Dasan Robinson, Osei Telesford

Statistic summaries






Shots on Goal












Corner kicks



Disciplinary summary

COL — Roberto Brown (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 6
COL — Bouna Coundoul (caution; Reckless Foul) 31
CHI — Chad Barrett (caution; Diving, Exaggeration) 33
CHI — Diego Gutierrez (caution; Reckless Foul) 69
COL — Herculez Gomez (caution; Reckless Foul) 89

Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee’s Assistants: Rob Fereday; Frank Anderson
4th official: Ben Chouaf
Time of game: 1:52
Attendance: 12,110
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 70 degrees

Jeff Cann can be reached at
© Cann/Cyber Soccer Associates, LLC 2007

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