Major League Soccer
Olsenís tally is enough for D.C. United to defeat Colorado 1-0 in battle of conference leaders.DENVER (Saturday, August 28, 1999) -- Midfielder Ben Olsen provided the nightís only goal as D.C. United edged the Colorado Rapids 1-0 in a match between Major League Soccer conference leaders before 14,982 at Mile High Stadium.
United (19-7, 47 points), atop the Eastern Conference, entered the match as the only MLS team to have clinched a playoff spot and extended its lead over the Columbus Crew to 12 points. With the victory, United insured it will finish no lower than second in the East. Colorado (16-8, 42 points) lost for the third time in four outings and saw its West lead dwindle to two points in a division where three points separate the top four teams.
"We came in here with a very specific game plan knowing this was our third game in a week with a lot of travel," United coach Thomas Rongen said. "We wanted to play contrary to what we normally do, a little more low pressure, counter on them and we actually stuck to the game plan well , worked extremely hard and got the result we needed."
Olsen gave United a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute. Striker Jaime Moreno played a ball back from the penalty area to Geoff Aunger, whose looping ball found Olsen beating Ross Paule and the Rapids' offside trap. Olsen slammed his shot out of the air seven yards past goalkeeper Ian Feuer. The assist was Moreno's fourth in the last two games.
In its losing effort, Colorado outshot D.C. 19-9 and had a 7-3 edge in shots on goal.
Late-game heroics were almost in store once again for Colorado forward Jorge Dely Valdes, who headed the ball into the net in the 86th minute, only to have the goal waved off following a foul in the box by Marcelo Balboa. Balboa failed on numerous opportunities to knot the game, including a volley from seven yards with 22 second left which he sent well over the empty net.
"I saw one particular player mow over about three of our players," Rongen said of the disallowed goal. "It was a good call."
D.C. United 1, Colorado Rapids 0Lineups: Colorado - Ian Feuer, Tim Martin (Guillermo Jara 88), Peter Vermes, Marcelo Balboa, David Vaudreuil, Ross Paule, Paul Bravo, Matt McKeon, Kevin Anderson (Darren Sawatzky 81), Jorge Dely Valdes, Wolde Harris (Marquis White 74); D.C. United - Mark Simpson, Carey Talley, Jeff Agoos, Eddie Pope, Geoff Aunger, Marco Etcheverry, Ben Olsen, Richie Williams, John Maessner, Jaime Moreno, Roy Lassiter (Chris Albright 88).
Total shots: Colorado 19 (Balboa 4), D.C. United 9 (Lassiter 3, Olsen 3). Shots on goal: Colorado 7 (Anderson 3), D.C. United 3 (Olsen 2). Saves: Colorado - Feuer 3; D.C. United - Simpson 7. Fouls: Colorado 15 (Harries 3, Paule 3), D.C. United 26 (Williams 7). Offside: Colorado 4, D.C. United 3. Corner kicks: Colorado 8, D.C. United 3. Yellow card cautions: D.C. United - Aunger 26, Agoos 53, Williams 80. Red card ejection: D.C. United - Williams (second yellow card) 87. Possession percentage: Colorado 58%, D.C. United 42%.
Referee: Noel Kenny. Referee's assistants: Roger Itaya, Rudy Bettman. Attendance: 14,982 at Mile High Stadium in Denver. Weather: Cloudy, chance of showers.