The Rapids, who finished the regular season in fifth place in the Western Conference, lead the home-and-home, total-goals quarterfinal series 1-0 over the Crew, who finished second in the East in the regular season.
Colorado captain Pablo Mastroeni scored the game’s only goal, his first career playoff tally in his 16th playoff game with the Rapids, which ties him with Chris Henderson for the most all-time playoff appearances with the club.
Colorado strikers Omar Cummings and Conor Casey had the Crew defense on its heels most of the night, and they nearly gave the home side the advantage inside 10 minutes. The two broke into the Columbus end on a two-on-one vs. defender Chad Marshall after Cummings ran onto a ball on the right side. The Jamaican then played a ball across the box that was just out of the reach of Casey with a wide-open goal in front of him.
The Crew’s best early chance came minutes later when Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens was forced to punch away a Guillermo Barros Schelotto corner kick just before striker Steven Lenhart could get his head on it.
Colorado went up 1-0 in the 24th minute when Cummings ran onto a diagonal ball into the right corner. He then played a ball into the middle of the penalty area that Casey deftly touched with a back-heel to Mastroeni at the far post. Mastroeni finished it off by blasting the shot just under the crossbar from close range.
That was how the score stayed as the Rapids dominated the majority of the game, but were unable to get a second goal. The Crew began a push-back in the closing minutes, with an Andy Iro header from close range that saved by Pickens five minutes from time being their best chance of the game.
The Rapids take the one-goal advantage into the second and deciding leg at Crew Stadium on Nov. 6.