It came by way of a penalty, but the Columbus Crew scored for the first time in three league games and came away with a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon at Columbus Crew Stadium.
Cornell Glen converted from the spot midway through the second half to give the Crew the victory and extend the Rapids winless streak to five matches, as Colorado has taken just one point on the road this season.
While returning to their winning ways at home, the Crew broke their two-match scoreless streak. Rookie goalkeeper Bill Gaudette earned his first win and shutout as Colorado remained scoreless for a third consecutive match.
The Rapids tried to change their recent fortunes right from the outset as striker Jeff Cunningham, making his first appearance as a visitor to Crew Stadium, tested Gaudette early on. The former Crew man led a counterattack down the left wing in the first minute of the game, but his shot was directly at the rookie goalkeeper.
Cunningham got another good chance in the 10th minute, but his header off a Kyle Beckerman cross did not have enough power to seriously test Gaudette.
Kyle Marino nearly put the Crew ahead in the 14th minute, but was denied by Joe Cannon's right post. The Crew midfielder made a slashing run across the top of the penalty box that beat several defenders and then beat Cannon with a low shot that struck the outside of the post.
Then through Glen just minutes after halftime, the Crew again beat Cannon to his right only to be stopped by the post. Chris Henderson picked up clearance of a Frankie Hejduk cross near the left side and served the ball to Glen who headed the ball off of the woodwork to continue the Crew's scoreless streak.
Glen had another good chance two minutes later, but Cannon made a nice save diving to his left. Knox Cameron, a rookie from Michigan making his first MLS start, played a good ball to Glen to go in alone on the Colorado 'keeper, but the nice save kept the match scoreless.
The Crew finally hit the back of the net in the 65th minute, but the goal was called back due to a foul. Mario Rodriguez picked up a loose ball in the penalty area and drove a low angled shot past Cannon, but referee Baldomero Toledo ruled out the goal as Glen was judged to have fouled Borchers to create the chance for Rodriguez.
But Columbus got a goal that counted just two minutes later after Ritchie Kotschau took down Rodriguez in the box following a darting run by the Guatemalan international. Glen easily finished the penalty kick for the Crew's first goal in exactly five hours of play. Columbus also had missed their last three penalty kicks. Rodriguez continued causing trouble for the Rapids defense when he burst through alone in the right side of the area in the 71st minute, but blasted his shot right at the chest of Cannon.
In the 78th minute, the Crew should have put the Rapids away, but they wasted a chance with Cannon out of the goalmouth. Recently acquired John Wolyniec intercepted the ball and raced in alone on Cannon. With the 'keeper at his mercy he tried to slip a square pass to Glen, but the two couldn't make the connection and wasted a great chance.
There was one final let-off for the home side, when the Rapids won a corner kick deep into stoppage time. Mike Petke sent a soft header goalward that had Gaudette beaten, but Rodriguez was perfectly placed to head the ball off the line and preserve the Crew victory.
Columbus travel to New Jersey to play the MetroStars on Saturday, June 18 while the Rapids host the Los Angeles Galaxy in a midweek clash on Wednesday night.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Mario Rodriguez (Columbus Crew)
Colorado Rapids (2-7-2) vs. Columbus Crew (3-6-1)
June 11, 2005 -- Columbus Crew Stadium
CLB -- Cornell Glen 1 (penalty kick) 67
Colorado Rapids -- Joe Cannon, Ricky Lewis, Nat Borchers, Mike Petke, Ritchie Kotschau (Alain Nkong 73), Matt Crawford (Terry Cooke 57), Kyle Beckerman, Pablo Mastroeni (Leo Cullen 61), Eric Denton, Wolde Harris, Jeff Cunningham.
Substitutes Not Used: Byron Foss, Luchi Gonzalez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Jeff Cunningham 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Jeff Cunningham 2); FOULS: 15 (Ritchie Kotschau 4); OFFSIDES: 5 (Jeff Cunningham 2, Eric Denton 2); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Kyle Beckerman 4); SAVES: 4 (Joe Cannon 4)
Columbus Crew -- Bill Gaudette, Frankie Hejduk, Robin Fraser, Stephen Herdsman, Mark Schulte, Mario Rodriguez, Simon Elliott, Kyle Martino (Chris Wingert 75), Chris Henderson, Cornell Glen (Edson Buddle 80), Knox Cameron (John Wolyniec 53).
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Kelly, Domenic Mediate, Marcus Storey, Jamal Sutton, Andrew Terris, David Testo.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12 (Cornell Glen 7); SHOTS ON GOAL: 5 (Cornell Glen 3); FOULS: 19 (Mark Schulte 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (3 tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Simon Elliott 2); SAVES: 2 (Bill Gaudette 2)
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Reckless Foul) 21
COL -- Nat Borchers (caution; Reckless Foul) 31
CLB -- Robin Fraser (caution; Pushing, Holding) 40
COL -- Kyle Beckerman (caution; Reckless Foul) 44
COL -- Mike Petke (caution; Tackle from Behind) 83
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; Robert Fereday
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda