Outmanned, outplayed, Colorado outscores Chicago 2-1 behind Agogo.
CHICAGO (Wednesday, May 3, 2000) -- In the most improbable of victories, forward Junior Agogo recorded a goal and an assists to lead the shorthanded and outplayed Colorado Rapids to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire before 5,144 Major League Soccer fans tonight at Soldier Field.
Agogo, was briefly with the Fire this year before being dealt earlier this season to make room for goalkeeper Chris Snitko. He scored the first Colorado goal and assisted Jorge Dely Valdes to make it 2-0 in the 71st minute.
Colorado, which was reduced to 10 players when midfielder Jason Bent was shown a red card in the 51st minute, was outshot 31-4 in the match with Chicago holding a 12-4 advantage in shots on goal and 10-1 edge in corner kicks. The 31 shots were a Fire club record.
"It was obviously a one-sided game in regard to possession and shots," Colorado coach Glenn Myernick said. "We were outnumbered for a lot of the game, we dodged a few bullets, but we had great goaltending and defending, finished a couple chances, and got a very important win,"
The Rapids (4-4, 12 points) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute when the speedy Agogo capitalized on a defensive error by Chicago. Facing pressure deep within his own territory, the Fire's Mike Sorber mishandled a clearance attempt, allowing Agogo to collect the ball and carry it into the Fire penalty area before casually placing it past Snitko for the tally.
Chicago (3-4-1, 10 points) had several chances to even the score, victimizing the Rapids defense with hard, long range shots. Colorado goalkeeper Adin Brown put on an acrobatic display, shutting down one scoring opportunity after another with sprawling saves.
"Adin Brown was terrific tonight," Myernick said. "He made some big time saves. He is playing with a lot of confidence right now, and he is obviously a very talented goalkeeper. It was great to have him back (from Olympic qualifying with the United States under-23 team)."
The Fire's best chance came in the 65th minute, when Colorado defender Chris Martinez was called for a penalty inside the box. Chicago's Diego Gutierrez lined up to take the ensuing penalty kick, but was seemingly rattled by former teammate Paul Dougherty's conference with Brown before the attempt. The gamesmanship paid off for the Rapids, as Gutierrez launched his shot well over the crossbar.
"I was able to make some good saves, but our whole team defended really well tonight, especially after we went down a man," said Brown, playing his first MLS match since minding net for the U.S. which qualified for Septemberís Summer Games in Sydney. "This is a big win for the team to bounce back and a good win to get me back in the flow with the guys."
Agogo created the second goal for the Rapids in the 71st minute, collecting a long pass from Brown and splitting the Fire defense with a pinpoint pass to the feet of Dely Valdes. The Panamanian striker pushed the ball into space, catching Snitko off-guard. With the keeper frozen by the sudden redirection, Dely Valdes found the roof of the net with a quick shot off the outside of his right foot to make it 2-0.
Brown's acrobatics could not stop Lubos Kubik seven minutes later, however, when the Fire defender pulled Chicago within 2-1. Kubik's 26-yard free kick dipped violently in flight, homing in on the upper corner of the goal. The 6-foot-5 Brown dove to deflect the shot, but the ball rippled the net untouched.
"Simply put, this was a bad loss," Chicago coach Bob Bradley said. "I felt we allowed ourselves to think that this would be an easy game which caused us to get careless early on. We lacked discipline. We had a lot of chances to score, but we couldn't capitalize. I'm just disappointed in the way we went about things tonight. We worked the ball from side to side and had a lot of crosses in the box, but we didn't get the rebounds and did not do a lot of running in the box.
Colorado Rapids 2, Chicago Fire 1Lineups: Chicago - -Chris Snitko, Lubos Kubik, C.J. Brown, Carlos Bocanegra, Mike Sorber (Evan Whitfield 60), Jesse Marsch, Diego Gutierrez, Dema Kovalenko (John Wolyniec 68), Peter Nowak, Josh Wolff, Ante Razov. Colorado - Adin Brown, Scott Vermillion, Marcelo Balboa, Chris Martinez, David Vaudreuil, Jason Bent, Paul Dougherty (Henry Zambrano 70), Jason Moore, Paul Bravo (Keyeno Thomas 64), Junior Agogo (Seth Trembly 91+), Jorge Dely Valdes.
Shots on goal: Chicago 31 (Kubik 6), Colorado 4 (four players with 1). Shots on goal: Chicago 12 (Kubik 3), Colorado 4 (four players with 1). Saves: Chicago - Snitko 2; Colorado - Brown 11. Fouls: Chicago 13 (Marsch 3), Colorado 4 (four players with 1). Offside: Chicago 0, Colorado 3. Corner kicks: Chicago 10, Colorado 1 Yellow card cautions: Colorado - Bravo 28, Dely Valdes 42. Red card ejection: Colorado - Bent 51. Possession percentage: Chicago 67, Colorado 33.
Referee: Tae Kim. Referee's assistants: Nathan Clement, Francisco Sanchez. Attendance: 5,144 at Soldier Field in Chicago. Weather: Clear, 65 degrees, slight breeze.