Major League Soccer
Balboa scores winner after Limparís late equalizer in Rapids 2-1 win over Fire.
DENVER (Tuesday, July 4, 2000) -- Defender Marcelo Balboa capped a stirring comeback with a goal in sudden death for the Colorado Rapids who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, edging the Chicago Fire before a record 53,126 who came for the Major League Soccer game and fireworks at Mile High Stadium tonight.
Anders Limpar, who came off the bench to set up Matthew Okohís equalizer in a 1-1 draw with D.C. United Saturday, started today and forced overtime with a tying goal in the 89th minute, then started the winning sequence. Limpar also assisted Scott Vermillionís header that gave the Rapids a 1-0 victory over the Dallas Burn on June 28.
In a second overtime, Colorado (9-9-2, 29 points) was awarded a free kick deep in the right corner which Limpar sent into the penalty area. Balboa rose above a crowd of players to flick towards goal. The attempt glanced off Okoh and back to Balboa, who tapped in his third goal of the season for the 2-1 triumph in the 98th minute.
"As far as I am concerned, the fireworks are anti-climactic because the big bang just happened," coach Glenn Myernick told the Denver Post after Balboa's second game-winning tally of the season. "That was one of the biggest victories we have ever had."
Chicago (9-8-3) appeared to be on its way to a 1-0 victory until Limpar notched his first goal of the season off a sequence that the Swedish veteran initiated with a floating cross to Junior Agogo in the box. Agogo could not turn a header towards goal, so he flicked the ball toward the top of the 18-yard box. Limpar collected the loose ball along the left side and placed a perfect shot past Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton off the far post and in to make it 1-1.
"I just spun around and it was there," Limpar said.
Chicago got on the board just before halftime. Andrew Lewis played a perfect give-and-go at the top of the box with Chris Armas. Lewis was unmarked when he took the return pass and he slotted the ball through Rapids goalkeeper David Kramer's legs for his first MLS goal, making it 1-0 in the 45th minute. Chicago striker Ante Razov helped create the scoring chance by holding the ball in the offensive end, giving Lewis time to make the run from his central defense position.
"This is getting very old now, there is really very little else to say," said Chicago coach Bob Bradley. "We continue to get to the end and not close out games and give up points. It's hard to know why and we need to find a way to close out games. For us tonight this was a very bad ending. "
The Rapids, playing their third game in seven days, won for the first time when trailing at the half and is 1-6 when trailing at halftime.
Colorado Rapids 2, Chicago Fire 1 (2OT)Lineups: Colorado - David Kramer, Chris Martinez, Marcelo Balboa, Lance Key, Scott Vermillion, David Vaudreuil (Matt Okoh 73), Jason Bent, Anders Limpar, Paul Dougherty (Jorge Dely Valdes 83), Paul Bravo (Ross Paule 96), Junior Agogo. Chicago - Zach Thornton, C.J. Brown, Andrew Lewis, Carlos Bocanegra, Diego Gutierrez, Chris Armas, Evan Whitfield (John Wolyniec 91), Peter Nowak (Mike Sorber 92+), Jesse Marsch, Josh Wolff (Tom Soehn 83), Ante Razov.
Total shots: Colorado 17 (Bravo 3, Dougherty 3), Chicago 13 (Razov 5). Shots on goal: Colorado 7 (Bravo 2, Limpar 2), Chicago 4 (Nowak 1, Lewis 1, Razov 1). Saves: Colorado - Kramer 2; Chicago - Thornton 5. Fouls: Colorado 22 (Agogo 8), Chicago 23 (Armas 4). Offside: Colorado 0, Chicago 2. Corner kicks: Colorado 4, Chicago 5. Yellow card cautions: Chicago - Razov 20, Lewis 80. Possession percentage: Colorado 56, Chicago 44.
Referee: Richard Heron. Referee's assistants: Greg Barkey, Rudy Bettman. Attendance: 53,126 at Mile High Stadium in Denver. Weather: Sunny.