then they withstood mounting pressure from the Dallas Burn over the final 45 minutes before hanging for the 2-1 victory.
Buddle knocked home a Simon Elliott pass after a poor giveaway in the back for the Crew's first (38), then he coolly chipped Dallas 'keeper Jeff Cassar after Elliott laced a perfect ball in behind the defense from the flank.
The Burn equalized on 59 minutes when Jason Kreis scored his fifth goal of the campaign, a shot-cum-cross from Eddie Johnson finding Chris Gbandi, whose low drive was then deflected home from close range by the all-time MLS goalscoring leader.
"We're disappointed," Burn coach Colin Clarke said. "We had enough chances to win the game, and we gave up two sloppy goals."
Clarke made two changes to the team that hammered D.C. United 5-1 at the Cotton Bowl the previous weekend - both in his back four. Clarence Goodson made his first career MLS start, coming into central defense for Steve Jolley, while Chris Gbandi returned from suspension to take over at left back for Matt Behncke.
Here's Clarke's team (4-4-2): Jeff Cassar - Carey Talley (Bobby Rhine 85), Clarence Goodson,Cory Gibbs, Chris Gbandi (Ramon Núñez 75) - Ronnie O'Brien, Simo Valakari, Oscar Pareja, Brad Davis (Eric Quill 64) - Jason Kreis, Eddie Johnson.
Then on Wednesday, the Burn saw their U.S. Open Cup run ended with another resounding defeat by the Kansas City Wizards, this time by a 4-0 scoreline.
Chris Klein's 52nd-minute started a blitz over the final 40 minutes that also saw goals from Davy Arnaud (57), Justin Detter (73) and Alex Zotinca (88). It was the third time over the past two seasons that Kansas City has defeated Dallas by four goals, winning by 5-1 scorelines earlier this season and in 2003.
Here's Colin Clarke's team in the Open Cup tie: Scott Garlick; Cory Gibbs, Steve Jolley, Ronnie O'Brien, Eddie Johnson (Toni Nhleko 65), Oscar Pareja (Ramon Nunez 65), Eric Quill, Matt Behncke, Simo Valakari (Brad Davis 74), Bobby Rhine, Philip Salyer (Clarence Goodson 80)
Jean-Philippe Peguero gave the Rapids a first-half lead then Mark Chung doubled it midway through the second half as the Fire saw their winless stretch extended to nine games. The home side took the lead on the half-hour when Peguero found himself unmarked at the penalty spot on a corner and made no mistake, powering his header off the turf past Fire 'keeper Henry Ring.
The Colorado Rapids come into the final third of the season in third place in the Western Conference, with 26 points from 19 games. They are seven points adrift of the Los Angeles Galaxy, but have a five-point advantage over the last-place San Jose Earthquakes. The Rapids ended a four-match winless run in style in their final match before the All-Star break, knocking off the Chicago Fire 2-0 at Invesco Field.
The Rapids then doubled their lead just before the hour, Alberto Delgado's centering pass from the right flank finding an unmarked Chung just inside the edge of the area, and he hammered a rising left-footed shot under the crossbar for his first goal of the campaign.
"We've been waiting for a night like tonight," Rapids coach Tim Hankinson said. "The boys applied themselves tonight and got their three points. With Dallas and Kansas City losing, this was a great night."
Hankinson made three changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with the Columbus Crew the previous weekend, as he reverted to his trusted 4-4-2 scheme. Ritchie Kotschau was fit enough to come into the starting lineup at center back, while Jean-Philippe Peguero also gained a start in attack. Jordan Cila came into an attacking midfield role, as Rey Angel Martinez and John Spencer were both dropped.
Here's Hankinson's team: Joe Cannon - Antonio de la Torre, Nat Borchers, Ritchie Kotschau, Matt Crawford - Chris Henderson, Kyle Beckerman, Jordan Cila (Seth Trembly 72), Mark Chung - Jean-Philippe Peguero, Alberto Delgado (John Spencer 67)
"I think everybody just wanted to pick it up after the last game at home," said midfielder Chris Henderson, who assisted on Chung's goal. "We talked about trying to play better and keep possession, and once we got that (first) goal it lifted us. That's all it is: confidence."
Though he has missed nearly half of the season with an injury, Chung's goal against Chicago marked his first - meaning he's at the same total that John Spencer has hit for this season, just one behind Chris Henderson's two on the year. A year ago, the trio combined for 29 of the Rapids 40 goals in the regular season.
"I believe in Spencer, I believe in Chung, I believe in (Chris) Henderson," said GM Dan Counce. "It's totally contrary to their history that all three would have such trouble scoring for so long."
Hankinson will still be without central defender Pablo Mastroeni and midfielder Darryl Powell for the Dallas match.