DENVER - After a midweek loss to San Jose, Colorado Rapids head Coach Fernando Clavijo was very frustrated with his team's effort and work rate. It looks like his team got the message, emphatically beating the league-leading Chicago Fire 4-1 on Saturday night in Denver.
"The difference was the attitude," said Clavijo. "[It was the] same players, it was just attitude. I think we know that if we play from the beginning we can make things happen. ... It was a total effort for 90 minutes."
Fire coach Dave Sarachan agreed and thought the Rapids took advantage of a poor performance from his team.
"It was a pretty promising start with getting the first goal, but we had too many opportunities that we gave away," said Sarachan. "A number of mistakes were made [that] led to us directly getting punished and we didn't take advantage of the momentum of getting the first goal. Our passing and our movement was poor, and they took advantage of that and we never recovered."
Unlike many other games this season, the Rapids were able to put pressure in the midfield and dictate the pace of the game for long stretches of time.
"We played without pressure," said midfielder Alain Nkong, who had two goals and an assist in the game. "We actually controlled the ball and maintained possession and that's how we as a team can build and get better."
Although the Rapids go into the All-Star break with positive momentum, defender Ritchie Kotschau knows that one win does not make a summer.
"It is just one game," said Kotschau. "I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but that's the truth. I do think this will rejuvenate a lot of the guys, but we've to go out and build on this."
Geoffrey Urland is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.