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Petke leads Rapids past FC Dallas

Sep 5, 2008 - 4:42 AM By Ken Costlow PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

FRISCO, Texas (Ticker) -- With playoff berths at a premium in the Western Conference, both FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids entered Thursday's match looking for a much-needed win.

Colorado earned it as Mike Petke's goal in the 60th minute helped the Rapids edge FC Dallas, 1-0.

Preston Burpo stopped seven shots for Colorado (8-12-3), which moved into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot with Chivas USA (7-8-6) with 27 points. It was the Rapids' first win in 14 regular season matches in Dallas dating to 2000.

"This was as close to a must-win game as I have been a part of in 11 years," Petke said. "It's still going to be an uphill climb, but if we hadn't won tonight, it would have been dire. I was just fortunate enough to lose my mark and Terry just put the ball right on my head."

"After a very bad spell of away results over the last few weeks, It was great to get back on track again and win a game away from home," Colorado coach Gary Smith said. "I did feel for the first hour of the game, we played as well as we ever have away from home."

Meanwhile, FC Dallas (6-9-8) slipped into fifth place.

Colorado had last four of its last five matches and been blanked in all four losses. With only one shot on goal in the first half and four overall, it was beginning to look like that trend would not change.

However, at the hour mark, Petke ran up on Terry Cooke's corner kick from the right side and headed in a shot to the right corner from seven yards out to put the Rapids out front, 1-0.

It was Petke's first goal since September 8, 2007, against Los Angeles.

It was also Cooke's eighth assist of the season, moving him into a three-way tie for third place with the Los Angeles star David Beckham and DC United's Jaime Moreno.

Cooke said luck was finally on the Rapids' side for a change. He said Colorado's recent losses to DC United, Columbus and Toronto FC were particularly frustrating.

"It was very important that we got three points here tonight," Cooke said. "It has shot us right back into contention. After we went 1-up, we got a bit more into the game defensively because (FC Dallas) we were pushing more and more people forward."

Meanwhile, FC Dallas did not lack for chances. It had six shots in the first half, including three on goal. Michael Dello-Russo had a low blast from 20 yards out saved by Burpo in the 23rd minute, and Jeff Cunningham's shot from 12 yards out caromed off the right corner of the goal.

FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman was dismayed at the poor marking on Colorado's goal, and his team's inability to put the ball into the back of the net. It was the first time in nine matches that Dallas was held without a goal.

"It always takes 90 minutes to win, but only one second to lose," Hyndman said. "That is the disappointing part. This was a game we needed to win. It was a desperation game for both teams, and I think we let ourselves down and we let our fans down.

"We had some great chances from short corners, from headed balls and from redirected balls. If we're not going to get lucky, we need to at least stop them from scoring."

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