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First-half goals lead Rapids over Fire

Sep 15, 2008 - 1:39 AM COMMERCE CITY, Colorado (Ticker) -- Playing in their first home game in nearly a month, the Colorado Rapids used an early break to get a much-needed win.

The Rapids got the benefit of an own goal before Omar Cummings tallied seven minutes later en route to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Sunday.

The win moves Colorado (9-12-3) into a tie for third place in the crowded Western Conference with Chivas USA (8-10-6). The two teams are just one point behind Real Salt Lake (8-9-7) for second place.

"The coach emphasized, we have to dig deep and see what we're made of," Cummings said. "These are the results you get."

Colorado was coming off a 1-2 record on a three-game road trip and scored both of its goals in the first half to take control.

Jordan Harvey ran onto a ball on the left side of the penalty area and delivered a cross just before it past over the end line in the 30th minute. Chicago goalkeeper Jon Busch seemed to be caught off-guard as the ball came right at him and deflected off his right hand into the net to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.

In the 37th minute, Cummings scored his fifth of the year on a left-footed blast from outside the penalty area to give the Rapids an early two-goal advantage.

"They scored two goals that I could save, especially the first goal," Busch said. "The second was hit well, but the first goal was down to me. A hundred times out of a hundred, I catch that ball. I had it in my hands but it just slipped through in the end."

Goalkeeper Preston Burpo made the lead stand up, stopping four shots to record his third shutout of the campaign. It was Colorado's sixth home shutout this season.

"I feel that the first goal that we gave up was just a bad goal," Fire coach Denis Hamlett said. "Then we gave up that second goal and made things a little harder. In the second half we made an honest push, we created some very good chances, and some good looks but we just could not get that first goal to put more pressure on them."

The Fire (11-8-5), who have yet to win in Colorado since 1999, have now lost four or their past six contests and remain in third place in the Eastern Conference.

"They're a good team. There was no way we were ever going to take them lightly," Rapids interim head coach Gary Smith said of the Fire. "We knew that maybe even one goal would be the difference. We weren't expecting an enormous amount of chances. But with the opportunity in front of the goal, we knew that we needed to be a bit more clinical than we've been in previous games."

  • MLS

    Sep 14 5:05 PM

  • MLS

    Sep 14 3:58 PM

    COLORADO GOAL: Omar Cummings in the 37th minute

    Fire 0, Rapids 2  1st - 37'Sep 14 3:48 PM

    COLORADO OWN GOAL: Jon Busch in the 30th minute

    Fire 0, Rapids 1  1st - 30'Sep 14 3:40 PM