Harkes can't lead D.C. to a final win
For the third time in as many outings, D.C. United saw a lead evaporate on the way to suffering an exhibition loss, this time falling to the Colorado Rapids 6-2 at the 2005 Hall of Fame induction game in Oneonta, N.Y., in front of 2,763 fans at At-A-Glance Field.
Three 2005 Hall of Fame inductees participated in the match, Fernando Clavijo and Marcelo Balboa lining up for the winning side and John Harkes returning to captain his former club in D.C. United. Clavijo, who is the current head coach of the Rapids, left the game shortly after halftime along with Balboa, and the pair left their mark after combining for a cheeky goal in the opening stanza.
Fielding a side almost completely comprised of reserves, D.C. had jumped out to an early two-goal advantage on strikes from Shawn Kuykendall and Matt Nickell, but the advantage was gone by the time the teams headed to the sidelines for halftime.
Clavijo dropped the deficit to one in the 38th minute after his Rapids were awarded a penalty kick. Balboa stepped to the spot for the shot, but he simply laid the ball off in front of a stunned Troy Perkins, Clavijo rushing in to put the ball into the net. David Ben Dayan tied things up with a stoppage-time header.
It was all Colorado after the break, as they exploded for four goals to easily win the contest. A second penalty kick for the Rapids was rifled high into the net by Luchi Gonzalez for the go-ahead goal. Ricky Lewis extended the lead in the 56th minute and Stephen Keel tacked on the fifth just two minutes later. Ben Dayan slammed home his second of the afternoon for the icing on the cake.
D.C. United have a quick turnaround before their next action, the club set to host Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium as they look to overcome disheartening losses to Los Angeles and New England in their last two league matches. The 2004 MLS Cup champions will then look to avenge Monday's loss to the Rapids, as Colorado will host United at 9 p.m. ET in a match that can be seen live on Fox Soccer Channel and HDNet (featuring Balboa in the commentator's booth).
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.