a Jean-Philippe Peguero strike and an own goal by defender Eric Denton -- were too much for the Columbus Crew to overcome as the visiting Colorado Rapids claimed a 2-1 victory at Crew Stadium on Saturday night.
An Edson Buddle strike moments before the final whistle was not enough for the Crew to prevent their second consecutive defeat, while Colorado picked up three points for the first time since May 22 and ended a four-game winless skid.
Both teams came out attacking in search of three important points. Crew goalkeeper Jon Busch made an early save on a long shot from Rapids midfielder Seth Trembly, but the home side had the best of the early chances.
Jeff Cunningham had two quality chances, first sweeping his shot wide of the net after Kyle Martino passed up a shooting opportunity when well placed, then in the 25th minute, he whistled another chance just wide of the left post. In between, Rapids defender Ritchie Kotschau made a last-ditch tackle as David Testo was ready to convert a Frankie Hejduk cross.
Then in the 37th minute Peguero used his strength to fight off the Crew defense to open the scoring for the Rapids. The Haitian international received a pass from defender Matt Crawford and was able to withstand a challenge at the top of the penalty area before striking a half-volley that Busch could not keep out.
The lead was doubled seconds before the halftime whistle when Denton put one past his own 'keeper. A cross from the flank came into the box looking for Peguero, but as Denton challenged in an attempt to keep the Rapids' forward from doubling up, he inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net to give the visitors a two-goal advantage at the break.
Cunningham again came close just after the interval from a good service by Duncan Oughton, but the U.S. international was again unable to get his effort on target.
The Crew had their chances to pull level over the game's final minutes. First, in the 85th minute, defender Chad Marshall got his head on a free kick and directed it towards Joe Cannon's net. The Colorado 'keeper made the save, and though the the Crew players pointed out to the referee that he was behind the goal line when he caught the ball, referee Jair Marrufo ruled the ball hadn't entered the goal.
Buddle made it exciting at the end with a late strike out of goalkeeper Cannon's reach to bring the Crew within a goal in the 89th minute, then Marshall had a header cleared off the line right at the death, winning a corner kick only to see Rapids winger Chris Henderson preserve his team's victory.
Colorado will next be in action Wednesday night when they travel to the MetroStars for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff (HDNet). Columbus is at home again next Saturday as their Eastern Conference rivals, the Chicago Fire visit Crew Stadium in a match scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET (FSW/FSE).
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Jean-Philippe Peguero (Colorado Rapids)
Colorado Rapids (3-3-6) vs. Columbus Crew (4-5-3)
June 26, 2004 -- Columbus Crew Stadium
COL -- Jean Philippe Peguero 4 (Matt Crawford 2, Ritchie Kotschau 1) 37
COL -- own goal (Eric Denton) 45
CLB -- Edson Buddle 2 (Jeff Cunningham 1) 89
Colorado Rapids -- Joe Cannon, Antonio de la Torre, Nat Borchers, Pablo Mastroeni, Ritchie Kotschau, Chris Henderson, Jordan Cila (Gary Sullivan 89), Matt Crawford, Seth Trembly, Joey DiGiamarino (Adrian Cann 80), Jean Philippe Peguero.
Substitutes Not Used: Michael Erush, Scott Vallow.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Jean Philippe Peguero 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Jordan Cila 2, Jean Philippe Peguero 2); FOULS: 19 (Pablo Mastroeni 4, Jean Philippe Peguero 4); OFFSIDES: 2 (Jean Philippe Peguero 2); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Matt Crawford 4); SAVES: 5 (Joe Cannon 4)
Columbus Crew -- Jon Busch, Nelson Akwari (Duncan Oughton 46), Robin Fraser, Chad Marshall, Simon Elliott, Manny Lagos, Kyle Martino, Eric Denton, Frankie Hejduk (Michael Ritch 82), Jeff Cunningham, David Testo (Edson Buddle 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Devin Barclay, Clint Baumstark, Brian Maisonneuve, Erick Scott, Jake Traeger, Chris Wingert.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16 (Jeff Cunningham 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Edson Buddle 2, Chad Marshall 2); FOULS: 14 (Manny Lagos 4); OFFSIDES: 5 (Edson Buddle 2, Jeff Cunningham 2); CORNER KICKS: 6 (Simon Elliott 5); SAVES: 5 (Jon Busch 5)
CLB -- Manny Lagos (caution; Professional Foul) 50
COL -- Nat Borchers (caution; Pushing, Holding) 62
CLB -- Eric Denton (caution; Professional Foul) 64
COL -- Joe Cannon (caution; Delaying a Restart) 80
COL -- Jordan Cila (caution; Delaying a Restart) 85
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Delaying a Restart) 90
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: -Chip Reed; Kenneth Kaplan
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-72-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.