Rapids rebound to send Fire to first loss, 2-0

Fire miss on opportunities, team falls short in Colorado

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Omar Cummings’ second-half strike proved to be the game-winner as the Colorado Rapids survived the Chicago Fire with a 2-0 victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Sunday afternoon.

The result gave the Rapids their third win in four matches this season and sent the Fire to their first loss.

In the 58th minute, Colorado newcomer Martín Rivero placed a perfect long ball through to the streaking Brian Mullan, who then centered to a wide-open Cummings. The Jamaican then coolly slotted home for his second tally of the season and his sixth goal in seven career matches against the Fire.

The Rapids added an insurance goal in the second minute of second-half injury time through newly signed Kamani Hill. The forward collected a pass from Wells Thompson and fired a shot at Paolo Tornaghi, which rebounded straight back to the Bay Area native. Hill then sent a powerful finish to the far post for the easy clincher.

The final score may have offered a disservice to the Fire, who collected five shots on goal and kept Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens active throughout the contest.

After an unsettled start for the home team – Chicago earned two corner kicks in the game’s opening 10 minutes – the Rapids slowly began to establish control over the proceedings, using MLS debutant Rivero’s creativity in the midfield to generate the game’s first significant opportunities on goal.

The best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to the Fire who, in the 38th minute, saw Marco Pappa deliver a perfect through ball to the speedster Dominic Oduro, who had a one-on-one with Pickens. But the Ghanaian sent his effort straight at the Rapids netminder, who quickly gobbled up a potential rebound.

After Cummings opened the scoring near the hour mark, the Fire didn’t back down. Oduro’s 68th-minute turnaround strike forced Pickens to punch the ball aside. Not three minutes later, Oduro again found space and had his curling effort narrowly miss the crossbar.

But the Rapids were able to survive the second-half onslaught and take all three points.

With the win, Colorado improve to 3-1-0 and head to Utah for the first Rocky Mountain Cup clash of the season with Real Salt Lake on April 7. The Fire, meanwhile, fall to 1-1-1 ahead of a bye week. They next host Houston on April 15.