Chicago moves into tie for first in Central after 1-1 draw.
DENVER, Colorado (Friday, July 21, 2000) -- The Colorado Rapids and Chicago Fire managed one goal apiece in the first half of a game which ended in a 1-1 tie at Mile High Stadium in a rare Friday night matchup. With the point, the Fire moves into a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Mutiny atop the Central Division standings.
The Rapids took the lead after 27 minutes with a goal from ex-Fire striker Junior Agogo. Chicago had a defensive clearance intercepted and Rapids midfielder Henry Zambrano served a streaking Anders Limpar on the left side of the box. The Swedish midfielder’s cross into the middle of the box was headed home by Agogo just inside the right post. It was Agogo’s 10th goal of the season and his second tally in three games against the team that traded him on April 10.
The Fire, which came close to opening the score on a breakaway by Peter Nowak earlier in the half, pressed forward and equalized in the 35th minute of play. Midfielder Jesse Marsch found an open Diego Gutierrez on the left flank, and Gutierrez whipped a left-footed cross into the box. The ball hit an onrushing Carlos Bocanegra in stride and the rookie thumped a header into the top left corner of the net. It was the 13th assist on the season for Gutierrez and Bocanegra’s first career MLS goal, on a rare advance from his left-back defensive position.
Neither team was able to create dangerous opportunities in the second half as the two defenses clamped down. Limpar came close to recapturing the lead through a spectacular side volley that finished high over the cross bar. With three minutes remaining in regulation, Colorado midfielder Paul Bravo, a second-half substitute, forced Fire goalkeeper Zach Thornton into only his second save of the game after spinning and firing a shot on goal from just inside the box.
Both teams were missing players to National Team duty. Fire midfielder Chris Armas and forward Ante Razov were with the U.S. National Team, while the Rapids played without Jason Bent (Canada) and forward Jorge Dely Valdes (Panama), as the teammates will face off in a World Cup qualifier this weekend.
The Chicago Fire (10-8-5, 35 points) will play in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup next Tuesday against the PDL’s Chicago Sockers (8:30 p.m. ET). Both the Fire and Colorado Rapids (10-10-3, 33 points) return to MLS action after the All Star break on Wednesday, August 2. Colorado travels to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Wizards in a Western Division clash (8:30 p.m. ET). Chicago travels to Florida for an important Central Division contest against the Tampa Bay Mutiny (7:30 p.m. ET).
Colorado Rapids 1, Chicago Fire 1 (2OT)Lineups: Chicago - Zach Thornton, Carlos Bocanegra, C.J. Brown, Andrew Lewis, Evan Whitfield, Jesse Marsch (Sam George 86), Dema Kovalenko, Peter Nowak, Diego Gutierrez, Josh Wolff, DaMarcus Beasley (John Wolyniec 73. Colorado - David Kramer, Marcelo Balboa, Chris Martinez, Lance Key, David Vaudreuil, Anders Limpar, Jason Moore (Joey DiGiamarino 74), Paul Dougherty, Scott Vermillion (Paul Bravo 81), Henry Zambrano (Wes Hart 60), Junior Agogo.
Total shots: Chicago 18 (Nowak 4, Wolff 4), Colorado 12 (Agogo 4). Shots on goal: Chicago 6 (Wolff 3), Colorado 4 (four players with 1). Saves: Chicago - Thornton 3; Colorado - Kramer 5. Fouls: Chicago 19 (Gutierrez 4), Colorado 22 (Agogo 4). Offside: Chicago 1, Colorado 2. Corner kicks: Chicago 4, Colorado 2. Yellow card cautions: Chicago - Brown 56, Whitfield 85. Possession percentage: Chicago 46%, Colorado 54%.
Referee: Paul Tamberino. Referee's assistants: Kari Seitz, Terry Mashino. Attendance: 5,895 at Mile High Stadium in Colorado, Col. Weather: Sunny, clear.