COLUMBUS OH - AUGUST 21: Jason Garey #9 of the Columbus Crew celebrates after scoring a goal against the Colorado Rapids on August 21 2010 at Crew Stadium in Columbus Ohio. Columbus defeated Colorado 3-1. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Colorado Can't Overcome An Early Error And Lose 3-1 To Columbus

That's why Columbus IS the best team in the East.

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Columbus Wins 3-1

This game started off horribly and didn’t let up after that. Only five minutes in, Matt Pickens managed to give up a bad penalty in his own box, giving Columbus what basically amounted to a free goal, and a great team like Columbus doesn’t give up momentum very easily after getting a freebie that quickly.

Colorado’s finishing was awful through the first 45 minutes, with Omar Cummings missing a wide open net after making a fine run through the defense, and Marvell Wynne smashing a rocket of a shot wide through a wall of people only minutes later. They managed to equalize after a quick perfect pass from Mehdi Ballouchy to Pablo Mastroeni, leaving the captain wide open in front of the net. He actually came only inches from missing the net on his shot, showing that even the Rapids get the luck every so often.

The second half opened badly with Matt Pickens completely misplaying a header from Marvell Wynne, allowing Jason Garey a free shot at an open net for the two goal lead. In the 65th minute Garey scored again, but the play was called back on an offside call, which was booed immensely by the home crowd and probably the wrong call watching the replay. It wouldn’t wind up mattering as Garey’s substitute Steven Leinhart put the final nail in the coffin at 80 minutes.

The finishing for Colorado never improved, even after Claudio Lopez subbed in for Ballouchy late in the game. Conor Casey was a non-factor the entire game and Omar Cummings seemed to be trying too hard most of the game, getting bad touches and not anticipating plays. His one good chance at goal was a horrible miss. A random 4th-of-Julyesque downpour during the second half didn't help the Rapids chances either.

Colorado hasn’t come back from behind to win a game in over four seasons, and performances like tonight show you why.


Colorado Has A Tough Test On The Road In Columbus

The Rapids have finished two-thirds of the season, they open the final third with possibly the toughest game remaining on their schedule until late October, a visit to Ohio to meet with the East's first place squad, the Columbus Crew. The Crew won the title two years ago and while they didn't repeat last season - instead getting knocked out in the first round by an upstart Real Salt Lake team that wound up winning the whole thing - they are still a hell of a force to be reckoned with.

Conor Casey will look to be getting his first start since that nagging head injury he suffered against the Sounders set him down for three games. He had a couple of minutes of play in the second half of the previous game against the Union and looked good. Colin Clark going down leaves a mystery at who will start at the left-midfield spot, with the most likely choices being last weeks starter Jamie Smith or Argentinian striker Claudio Lopez, who despite his talent has only seen small bits of relief play all season long. With the Rapids most likely needing a good chunk of offense if they want to pass Columbus, Lopez in the LM spot would make sense. Wells Thompson will most likely keep his position from last game on the right side.

The Rapids come into the contest with 28 points, one behind fourth place Seattle and five behind third place Dallas. With Dallas on a recent tear and not looking like they will slow down any time soon, the Rapids playoff hopes figure to work best if they can catch Seattle. With the two teams not facing each other again this season, the Rapids will need to start to get about a point or more per game for the rest of the season if they want to catch up, especially against the tougher clubs like Columbus.

Colorado and Columbus met earlier this season at The Dick, where a very late goal by defender Drew Moor wound up being the only score of the game as the Rapids pulled out a victory 1-0. If the Rapids can sweep the season as it were against the Crew, that would certainly put a feather into the proverbial cap of their playoff chances. Losing against East teams certainly won't sting as bad as a loss to someone closer in the standings, but a win is a win this late in the season.

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