for this game

Casey's late penalty kick lifts Rapids into draw

Sep 19, 2009 - 6:24 AM By GEOFF LEPPER STATS MLS Correspondent

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) \2013 Despite having just stolen a point on the road, the Colorado Rapids were doing more soul-searching than celebrating Friday night.

Conor Casey netted his league-leading 14th goal, converting a penalty kick in second-half injury time to salvage a 1-all road draw for Colorado against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Then Casey made no bones about the quality of his team's work.

"We played very poorly tonight," Casey said. "To get out with a point in the end \2013 well, I don't know you'd say it was deserved. I don't think we played well enough to get one."

It still counts in the standings, helping Colorado (10-8-7) move one point ahead of Toronto and Real Salt Lake. The Rapids, bidding to make their first MLS playoff appearance since 2006, are now tied with Seattle for third in the Western Conference and are tied for fifth overall. The top two teams in each conference and the clubs that have the next six highest point totals qualify for the playoffs.

San Jose (5-12-6) was moments away from recording its third shutout in five matches despite Colorado's gamble of pushing its entire backline into the Earthquakes' penalty box in hopes of making something. But after a melee for a cross in the box two minutes into injury time, referee Edvin Jurisevic whistled San Jose forward Ryan Johnson for taking down Colorado defender Drew Moor.

"Having seen it again, it probably was a penalty," San Jose coach Frank Yallop said. "I just think, in the context of the game, do you have to give it? Maybe not."

Casey, who had converted only one of three penalty kicks coming into Friday, coolly pushed his fourth past San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon. Earthquakes defenders Chris Leitch and Brandon McDonald were given yellow cards for dissent in the waning seconds.

"In the end, I thought it was the weight of numbers" that led to the goal, Colorado coach Gary Smith said. "It wasn't through quality play or any individual talent. It was just sheer persistence in that final five or six minutes that found us our chance."

Reinvigorated by a nearly three-week vacation from league play, the Earthquakes took to the role of spoiler, looking to hand Colorado its second consecutive loss.

In their first game after playmaker Darren Huckerby underwent season- and probably career-ending surgery on his right hip, San Jose nevertheless flourished on the attack.

The Earthquakes almost got on the scoreboard third minute when Ramon Sanchez flicked a header from left to right across the penalty area. However, Shea Salinas' shot off the bounce from 12 yards ricocheted off the left post, and Rapids goalkeeper Preston Burpo was able to snuff out Cornell Glen on the rebound.

Five minutes later, Ryan Johnson succeeded at putting the Earthquakes ahead, meeting a long throw-in by McDonald and looping a header from 8 yards out over the head of Burpo, who was playing in place of injured starter Matt Pickens.

In addition to Pickens, the Rapids played without starters Colin Clark and Cory Gibbs due to injury and Pablo Mastroeni because of a league suspension.

Colorado nearly tied it in the 68th minute when Casey gained control of a Rapids corner kick that San Jose failed to clear effectively and fired a low shot to the near post, but Cannon was up to the task.

San Jose missed on a golden opportunity to put the game away in the 82nd minute when Chris Wondolowski and Bobby Convey drove a 2-on-1 counterattack down the length of the field. With Wondolowski expecting Convey to shoot, Convey's final pass trickled harmlessly out of bounds.

"They'll feel like they've lost the game and we feel like we won a game, and that can sometimes happen when you score a late goal like that, because you're mentally steeling yourself for a zero (points)," Smith said.