for this game

Crew 1, Rapids 0

Aug 2, 2009 - 5:25 AM By DALE BUBLITZ STATS MLS Correspondent

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (STATS) - The Columbus Crew were aware they would be forced to play a third straight game without reining league MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto. It didn't matter.

"It's tough with Guillermo out because he is our best player," defender Chad Marshall said. "We are confident that without him we can still win games."

Marshall proved that, scoring in the 39th minute as the Columbus Crew posted a rare road win with a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night.

The Crew notched their first road win since June 6 at Kansas City despite playing without Alejandro Moreno (groin) and Schelotto.

"The sign of a good team is if you have a few players scoring the goals and not the same player," Columbus coach Robert Warzycha said. "Because if that player gets injured, what are you going to do?

"The two players that are injured and before tonight, Steven Lenhart and Jason Garey, scored five of our six goals. Today it was Marshall's turn."

Goalkeeper William Hesmer made several key saves en route to his third shutout of the season for Eastern Conference-leading Columbus (8-3-9), which improved to 2-3-5 on the road.

"You are sitting with a one-goal lead late in the game and you're telling yourself you are going to make some big saves and contribute," Hesmer said. "Be prepared, you are going to have to make one save to come out of here with a big save."

That save came in the second half.

Hesmer denied the Rapids their best chance of the game in the 55th minute, pinning to the ground Cummings' header from just outside the crease.

"I had a good read on it and saw it all the way off his head," Hesmer said. "Luckily I didn't carry it back into the game. I think I pinned it right in front of the goal line."

Cummings could only shake his head in disgust, and it was more of the same 10 minutes later when his shot sailed just wide of the left post.

"It was unfortunate that we couldn't convert our chances," Cummings said. "That's the way the game goes. If you don't convert those chances, you lose."

Colorado (7-6-6) had its three-game home winning streak snapped and fell to 5-2-3 at home.

Rapids leading scorer Conor Casey did not play after appearing in the All-Star game on Wednesday. Casey missed the team's previous game against New York due to yellow-card accumulation.

The Crew hadn't posed a serious threat when referee Yader Reyes awarded them a free kick 30 yards out late in the first half. Robbie Rogers nudged the ball to Marshall, who booted a shot just inside the right post for his third goal of the year.

"Walking up, I asked Robbie what he was going to do and he said he would touch it to me and let me hit it," Marshall said. "So I tried to hit it hard, put it on a frame and luckily it did what it did."

Colorado had a couple of chances in the first half. Pat Noonan sent a header well over the crossbar in the 13th minute, and Cummings broke free in the 34th minute only to get off a weak shot that Hesmer easily caught.

"When you go behind a good team, it makes things extremely difficult and it slowly but surely got tighter and tighter for us," Colorado coach Gary Smith said. "And when the opening arises, you just aren't calm and collected to find the corner and make it count."