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Final

Preview: Colorado host Impact in teams' first-ever meeting

COL vs. MTL, 5-24-12

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COLORADO RAPIDS vs MONTREAL IMPACT
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
May 26, 2012 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #117)
9 p.m. ET (Altitude; TVA)

The Colorado Rapids and Montreal Impact meet for the first time when the expansion club visits Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday evening. The Rapids kicked off a long home stretch last weekend, coming back for a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City. The Impact saw their MLS club-record four-game undefeated streak come to an end last weekend, falling 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls at Olympic Stadium.   

REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Claudio Badea; JAR (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Mark Declouet MLS Career: 20 games; FC/gm: 24.7; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 5; pens: 6  

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INJURY REPORT: COLORADO RAPIDS-OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); MF Ross LaBauex (sports hernia); DF Marvell Wynne (R hamstring strain); FW Omar Cummings (L ankle sprain); DOUBTFUL: MF Brian Mullan (L knee sprain); FW Conor Casey (R hamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF Jamie Smith (R ACL tear)...MONTREAL IMPACT-OUT: DF Josh Gardner (L hamstring tendinitis); FW Evan James (nose fracture); QUESTIONABLE: DF Zarek Valentin (R calf contusion); MF Justin Mapp (R calf strain); PROBABLE: MF Sinisa Ubiparipovic (L groin strain); M Felipe (L groin strain)   

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none 
SUSPENDED: none 
WARNINGS:  SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: COL: Jeff Larentowicz...MTL: Sanna Nyassi  SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Jaime Castrillon ... MTL: Felipe Martins, Bernardo Corradi, Tyson Wahl   

HEAD-TO-HEAD 

ALL-TIME: First meeting.
• This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.
• Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. MTL: first game
• Jesse Marsch vs. COL: first game   

COLORADO RAPIDS 

The Colorado Rapids returned home to kick off a long stretch at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, coming back for a 2-2 draw with Sporting Kansas City on Saturday evening. The Rapids are in fifth place in the Western Conference with 16 points from 12 games. 

LAST MATCH

HIGHLIGHTS: COL 2, KC 2

• Sporting were on top just more than a minute into the match. Seth Sinovic floated a service to the center of the box, finding an unmarked Teal Bunbury lurking, and he made no mistake in burying his header. 

• Twelve minutes later, Matt Besler’s throw-in went right through Rapids 'keeper Matt Pickens’ hands and into Bunbury’s path, who pounced on the gift to knock the second goal of the game into an unguarded goal. 

• The Rapids began their comeback seven minutes into the second half. Martin Rivero’s pinpoint free kick found the head of center back Tyrone Marshall, who nodded home his first goal of the season. 

• In the 60th minute, Colorado once again capitalized on a set piece. Jeff Larentowicz’s freekick from 25 yards out was initially stopped by Jimmy Nielsen, but the veteran ‘keeper spilled the rebound to Conor Casey. He cleverly turned and slotted a ball to Kosuke Kimura, who turned the ball home from close range. 

• Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made two changes to the side that went down to a 2-0 loss to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. Kosuke Kimura came into the back four for Luis Zapata, and Wells Thompson started in midfield for Brian Mullan.

• COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-1-2): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Hunter Freeman - Wells Thompson (Kamani Hill 78), Jeff Larentowicz, Jaime Castrillon - Martin Rivero - Conor Casey (Edu 68), Tony Cascio (Luis Zapata 89). 

TEAM NEWS

• It was just the third time in club history the Rapids came back from two goals down to secure a draw, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• “I have to be honest as well and I say that of all the points that we have gotten so far, I think this one has a big, big meaning for the team because it shows a lot of character, a lot of personality, a lot of passion and desire,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. 

• The Rapids have also scored 15 of their 17 goals this season in the second half.

• “They didn’t give up during the game, even though in the first 15 minutes I thought we were in a big hole, a big hole, and we were trying to answer them,” Pareja said. “And they came into the locker room and they found answers. I’ve got to give the credit to them.”

• Both Rapids goals came from defenders- the club has now had 10 different players score goals, most among teams in MLS.

• “Last game we didn’t get any goals, so we have to find goals somewhere, no matter who is scoring,” said Tyrone Marshall. “At the end of the day it’s a team effort, and we got a result that the team desperately needed.

• “Both goals also came from set pieces, giving Colorado four goals for the season from standard situations - tied for most in MLS.

• “If there is a chance you go for it,” Kosuke Kimura said. “For the header, we’ve been working on set pieces and Tyrone got it and it was great. Everyone needs to step up. If 11 guys step up, that’s 11 guys, not just one or two guys. Everyone has to be dangerous all the time. We just need to keep doing that.

• The game started a stretch of five out of six games at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the Rapids, who have only the June 16 trip to Vancouver in league play between now and the start of July. 

• “It’s good that the team gets goal from different sources,” Martin Rivero said. “More than anything, it’s important to get home points and [the result] shows good character.” Said Kimura: “We need to make sure we get those points. We can’t drop anymore of those points at home. Like last year, we tied too many games. We can’t tie those games at home. 

• The Rapids shifted into a scheme as they had at the start of the season, with Conor Casey serving as the target striker and Wells Thompson and Tony Cascio wide on the flanks. 

• “We’ve had so many injuries,” Pareja said. “Omar [Cummings] is hurt, Conor’s hurt, Brian [Mullan], too, so we have to adjust to what we have. We always have options and I’m always flexible that way. They know the two formations well. We’re not worried with the formation, but rather the execution of the game because that’s the most important.”

• Striker Conor Casey made his second start in four days after missing nearly an entire season, but is listed as doubtful on the club’s injury report after suffering a hamstring strain that forced him off at the three-quarter mark vs. Kansas City. 

• “The difference from Conor to Omar is big,” Pareja said. “But if you don’t have either one, you have to do something different, and that’s what we’re thinking about right now.”   

MONTREAL IMPACT

The Montreal Impact saw their undefeated streak stopped at four games, falling for the first time at Olympic Stadium in a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday evening. The Impact are in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points from 12 matches. 

LAST MATCH 
• The Impact opened the scoring in the 21st minute after Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson was adjudged to have handled a header by Bernardo Corradi. The Italian striker duly converted the penalty to the right of Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara. 

• Eight minutes before halftime, however, Impact left back Tyson Wahl was also called for a handball in the box, leaving Kenny Cooper to score from the spot for his 10th goal of the season. 

• The Red Bulls scored the winner in the 67th minute. Left back Roy Miller started a counterattack and crossed a ball into the box which was deflected by Montreal goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. The ball bounced straight to Dane Richards, who blasted home from the heart of the area. 

• Impact head coach Jesse Marsch made three changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy at Olympic Stadium. Tyson Wahl came in for Hassoun Camara in the back, and Sanna Nyassi and Miguel Montano came in further forward for Justin Mapp and Lamar Neagle. 

• MONTREAL IMPACT (4-4-2): Donovan Ricketts - Jeb Brovsky, Nelson Rivas (Andrew Wenger 72), Matteo Ferrari, Tyson Wahl - Davy Arnaud, Collen Warner (Justin Braun 84), Felipe Martins, Sanna Nyassi - Miguel Montano, Bernardo Corradi (Lamar Neagle 80).

TEAM NEWS 
• The Impact saw their four-game undefeated streak come to an end in the loss. After conceding two goals in the previous four games, they allowed two to the high-flying Red Bulls, the league’s most prolific attack. 

HIGHLIGHTS: MTL v NY

• “Results-wise, for sure it’s a slip. Again, that game could have gone the other way. It didn’t," Impact manager Jesse Marsch said. "So we have to learn from it and handle those situations better. But in some ways, you almost feel like it’s just one of those nights where the ball is just not going your way. We just have to keep pushing and not feel sorry for ourselves.

• The game was also the club’s final regular season game this season at Olympic Stadium. Their next home game - June 16 vs. Seattle - will be played at Stade Saputo. 

• “We wanted to try and bring a little more urgency in the second half. It’s a disappointing result. We know that at the end of that game we should have come out with a win,” said Davy Arnaud. “We said it all year that we had to be good at home. You don’t ever want to lose at home. These things happen some times. We just have to move forward.

• Miguel Montano made his Impact debut, starting and playing the full 90 minutes. He had a Montreal season-high six attempts at goal. “I felt that we were getting chances,” Marsch said, “and frankly, I liked the fact that our two center backs were basically playing like two defenders and we were pushing our outside backs wide ... We were dangerous. We hit the post, we had a few other plays.” 

• Bernardo Corradi scored his fourth goal - all in the last six games. It was the Impact’s fourth penalty kick this season - most in MLS - also all coming in the last six games.

• “Obviously, everyone wants to see the ball go in,” Marsch said. “I still think that the fans should be pretty proud of what this team's about and how they've shown their character and their quality at different moments. I don't worry about that too much. I think it's more about how we continue to move ourselves forward."

• The Impact also conceded their fourth penalty of the season, also most this season in MLS. “I think we did a good job, defensively,” Tyson Wahl said. “Nelson [Rivas] and the other guys won their duels and [Cooper] didn't have much of an impact, same for Richards. Things simply didn’t go our way.

• The Impact on Thursday announced the signing of Italian striker Marco DiVaio. He will be available with the opening of the secondary transfer window June 27. The 35-year-old Di Vaio, is one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of first division soccer in Italy, with 142 goals in 342 games played in Serie A, with Lazio, Bari, Salernitana, Parma, Juventus, Genoa and most recently Bologna, for the last four seasons.