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LaBrocca's goal keys win for Rapids

May 3, 2009 - 9:20 PM COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (STATS) - Gary Smith doesn't mince words when talking about midfielder Nick LaBrocca.

"Nick is so versatile as he has shown before," the Colorado Rapids coach said. "There is so much he can do, mix things up in the midfield and yes, score goals."

LaBrocca scored his first goal in nearly a year and Kosuke Kimura added the first of his career to lead the Colorado Rapids to a 2-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday night.

"Tonight, Nick was the man of the match," Smith said. "He was a driving force in that midfield who really attacked and who had a very, very good performance."

LaBrocca broke a scoreless tie in the 11th minute with his first goal since June 28, 2008, at Columbus.

"I can be a defensive player and a scorer," LaBrocca said. "Playing strong on defense is what I do best, but tonight my job was to get in the box and score."

Colin Clark assisted on both goals for the Rapids (3-2-2), who ended a three-match winless streak during which they scored two goals.

Smith chose to start LaBrocca over Mehdi Ballouchy because of his aggressive work in recent weeks.

"He's been picking up the system well and making things happen," Smith said.

Kimura, a 24-year-old defender in his third season with Colorado, increased the lead in the 60th minute when his shot from the slot went just inside the left post.

That was more than enough offense for goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who got his first shutout of the season and 12th of his career.

Real Salt Lake (3-3-0) had its chances in the first half. Yura Movsisyan walked in to get an uncontested shot from the right wing in the fourth minute but sent it over the crossbar.

Clint Mathis sent a shot wide of the left post on a shot in the 20th minute.

"All we can keep doing is keep working and eventually we will score," Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman said. "We'll play like we do at home."

Real Salt Lake has yet to score in three road games, but has 12 in three games at home. RSL was coming off the biggest win in franchise history, 6-0 over New England last Saturday.

Starting goalkeeper Nick Rimando left in the 32nd minute and needed four stitches due to a severe cut on his right hand, which was stepped on during a pileup in front of the net. Kyle Reynish replaced Rimando and finished the game.

"I'm thinking I might be out a few weeks," Rimando said.

Defender Jamison Olave was sent off in the 41st minute, getting a red card for serious foul play.

"That's why our lack of scoring tonight is hard to evaluate," Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said. "We played so much of the game a man down."

As for LaBrocca and his chances for more playing time, Smith wasn't about to hold back.

"If he plays like that, absolutely," Smith said. "And if he scores even more so."

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Story from: STATS LLC, http://www.stats.com.








  • MLS
    REAL SALT LAKE 0
    COLORADO 2 FINAL

    May 2 11:31 PM


  • MLS UPDATE
    REAL SALT LAKE 0
    COLORADO 2
    COLORADO GOAL: Kosuke Kimura in the 60th minute

    Real Salt Lake 0, Rapids 2  2nd - 60'May 2 10:57 PM


  • MLS
    REAL SALT LAKE 0
    COLORADO 1 HALFTIME

    May 2 10:41 PM


  • MLS UPDATE
    REAL SALT LAKE 0
    COLORADO 1
    COLORADO GOAL: Nicholas LaBrocca in the 11th minute

    Real Salt Lake 0, Rapids 1  1st - 11'May 2 9:49 PM