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Mendoza leads Columbus over 10-man Colorado

Jun 27, 2011 - 2:18 AM Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Andres Mendoza scored twice and the Columbus Crew overcame an early deficit to defeat the 10-man Colorado Rapids, 4-1, on Sunday night in Major League Soccer at Crew Stadium.

Conor Casey scored in the fifth minute for Colorado, but Eddie Gaven and Mendoza turned defensive miscues into back-to-back goals in the 12th and 17th minutes, and the Crew never looked back after Casey was sent off in the 29th.

Mendoza added his second goal three minutes after halftime and Tommy Heinemann capped the scoring in the 57th.

Columbus (6-4-6) won its second consecutive game and for the third time in its last four, as it moved into a tie with Red Bull New York for second place in the Eastern Conference.

Colorado (5-5-7), which welcomed Brian Mullan back from a 10-match suspension, lost its second straight after a nine-game unbeaten run.

Casey gave the Rapids, who have not won at Columbus since 2004, the lead after just five minutes when he turned Jamie Smith's cross inside the near post with a header for his fourth goal in his last give games.

But Gaven took advantage of a turnover in midfield in the 12th and dribbled to the edge of the box, where he slotted through the legs of Rapids defender Drew Moor to the far post for his second goal of the season.

Another Colorado turnover five minutes later allowed Mendoza to get possession just outside the area, and he settled and fired an 18-yard shot off the bottom of the crossbar and in for his sixth goal of the season.

Casey was sent off just before the half-hour mark for a late challenge against Crew goalie William Hesmer, and Mendoza and Heinemann scored after half to put the finishing touches on the lopsided victory.

Mendoza again took advantage of a defensive miscue, this time getting control of the ball inside the midfield circle before driving 40 yards and unleashing a 16-yard shot to the left post for his seventh goal of the year.

Heinemann added the last goal when a pass deflected off Rapids defender Tyrone Marshall and rolled to the Crew striker, who drove a shot to the left post for his first goal of the season.

Columbus will try to build on the win Saturday at FC Dallas, while Colorado is at home on July 3 against the Houston Dynamo in its next match.