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A deja vu disappointment for Colorado
by Ridge Mahoney, September 24th, 2009 7AM

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[MLS] The team that had nothing to lose didn't, and the team that needed to win also didn't. Five days after a Conor Casey stoppage-time penalty kick resulted in a 1-1 tie between the Quakes and Rapids in California, the same scenario produced the same score in Colorado in front of a sparse crowd (6,234) smaller than the attendance (10,525) in San Jose last Friday night. The Rapids' playoff quest, after getting only two points against the league's second worst team in two games, looks a lot more challenging.

This time, however, San Jose also scored with a penalty kick. Chris Wondolowski connected in the 57th minute for his fifth goal of the season after a handball was called on Pat Noonan, who came into the match as an emergency replacement for Jacob Peterson, forced out by injury in the 12th minute.

Rapids keeper Preston Burpo, who started the 2008 season the Quakes roster though he never played a first-team game before joining the Rapids, staved off several San Jose attacks to keep the deficit at one. Colorado finally tied the game three minutes into stoppage time when Casey, the league's leading scorer, rolled his 15th goal to the right of goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

Omar Cummings created the penalty kick when he dribbled past defender Bobby Burling, perhaps pushing him out of the way in the process, and cut into the penalty area, where Jason Hernandez took him out with a desperation tackle. Casey converted his third penalty kick in five attempts this season to give Colorado (10-8-8, 38 points) a point and move it into a third-place tie with Seattle in the Western Conference.

Deprived of a win, which would have been their first on the road this season, by a stoppage-time penalty for the second time six days, the Quakes (5-12-7, 22 points) again lost a victory they deserved. Midfielder Simon Elliott - who replaced the injured Andre Luiz a quarter of an hour into the match -- controlled the middle of the field, left back Ramiro Corrales contributed strong tackles and confident clearances, and Cannon saved superbly on a Casey header a few minutes before Wondolowski connected from the spot.

Colorado plays three of its final four games on the road, starting with a match Saturday in Kansas City. In back-to-back series with Toronto and San Jose, the Rapids have won just one of those four matches and taken five of 12 points. Their games in hand are gone and they are enmeshed in an eight-team thicket covered by just four points from which only four wild-card teams will emerge.

San Jose travels east for a Sunday date with D.C. United, which plays Marathon of Honduras Thursday in the Concacaf Champions' League, and won't be in the best of shape to face a pesky team relishing its role as spoiler.

Sept. 23 in Commerce City, Colo.
Colorado 1, San Jose 1
.
Goals: Wondolowski (penalty kick) 67; Casey (penalty kick) 93+.
Colorado -- Burpo, Kimura, Baudet, Moor, Harvey, Ballouchy (Palguta 69), LaBrocca (Diz 82), Mastroeni, Peterson (Noonan 12), Casey, Cummings.
San Jose -- Cannon, Leitch, Hernandez, McDonald, Burling, Andre Luiz (Elliott 15), Corrales (Zaher 86), Sanchez, Convey, Johnson, Wondolowski.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar.



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