October 13, 2005 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Colorado Rapids
SALT LAKE, UT (Wednesday, October 12, 2005)- The Colorado Rapids finished the 2005 MLS Regular Season tonight, taking home the inaugural Rocky Mountain Cup with a 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake at Rice-Eccles Stadium in front of 13,813. Rookie forward Fabrice Nöel netted his first career goal to give the Rapids the three points and their first piece of hardware in the Fernando Clavijo era.
A cross by Terry Cooke in the starting minutes of the match, created the first scoring opportunity of the game for the Black and Blue. Jean Philippe Peguero met the cross in the heart of the home team's penalty area, but his powerful header sailed over the crossbar of Real Salt Lake's goal.
Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who returned to the starting lineup after sitting out five games with an abdominal strain, was tested by the home team in the 38th minute of the first half. Cannon came quickly off his line to close the shooting angle on an onrushing Melvin Tarley, whose close range shot was deflected by the Rapids goalkeeper's left foot.
Only one minute later, a seemingly easy shot from Kenny Cutler was deflected by the Rapids defense forcing Cannon to redirect his body and come up with a spectacular save.
Former Rapids player Seth Trembly volleyed a shot over Cannon in the 49th minute, but saw the ball fly over the crossbar and away from danger.
Clint Mathis came close to scoring in the 51st minute, when he faced Cannon on a one-on-one situation. The Rapids keeper kicked the ball away from Mathis, but was unable to secure the rebound. The loose ball was kicked by Tarley towards an open net when he was denied by defender Ritchie Kotschau, who cleared the ball from the goal line to maintain the 0-0 tie.
Jeff Cunningham's shot in the 83rd minute came close to target, but went past the crossbar of goalkeeper D.J. Countess' goal. Cunningham collected a ball inside Real's penalty area before unleashing a powerful right shot that was carefully watched by Countess as it flew over his goal.
Rapids midfielder, Dedi Ben-Dayan's absence of tonight's match exemplifies an interesting side note about the diversity of the sport of soccer. Ben-Dayan, who practices Judaism, missed tonight's Rapids regular-season finale as he observed Yom Kippur. The Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur is considered to be the most important of the Jewish year. Many Jews who do not observe any other Jewish custom will refrain from work, fast, and/or attend synagogue services on this day. The 2005 Yom Kippur holiday starts at sunset on Wednesday, October 12th and will end at nightfall on October, 13th, 2005.
The deciding play of the game came in the 84th minute, when Cunningham feed a through ball to the onrushing Nöel. The 20-year old Haitian dribbled his way past the first defender while speeding towards goal before unleashing a well placed shot past the diving Countess.
The Rapids will host the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Saturday, October 22nd at 7:00 p.m. (MT) at INVESCO Field at Mile High. Playoff tickets are on sale now. The Black and Blue are also offering the "Rapids Youth Night Special" presented by Fat City, where kids 16 & under get a free playoff ticket with the purchase of an adult playoff ticket, as well as 2 free coupons to Fat City. Fans can reserve their Playoff Tickets or the Rapids Youth Night Special by calling the Rapids Ticket Hotline at (303) 825-GOAL.