11 on target, forcing nine saves out of Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon.
The home side scored twice within five minutes late in the first half to take the lead. Freddy Adu - who played the full match in behind the front two - ran onto a slide-rule pass from Josh Gros on the left and coolly slotted home from the spot for his fourth goal (35). Then Earnie Stewart doubled the lead after he collected a crossfield pass from Alecko Eskandarian and perfectly placed his shot inside the far post.
United then scored a third midway through the second half when Jaime Moreno danced around three defenders into the area before trying to lay back a pass - only for defender Ritchie Kotschau to turn it into his own goal and he chased from behind (64).
The Rapids pulled a goal back when John Spencer scored his first goal since an Opening Day strike against Dallas, finishing a quick break off a turnover with a low drive from just inside the area.
United coach Peter Nowak made two changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes the previous weekend. Mike Petke returned from injury, coming in for the suspended Bryan Namoff, while Freddy Adu came to the scheming role in behind the front two, as Brian Carroll was dropped from the starting lineup for the first time in his rookie season.
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Troy Perkins - Mike Petke, Ezra Hendrickson, Brandon Prideaux - Earnie Stewart, Dema Kovalenko, Ben Olsen (Brian Carroll 48), Joshua Gros - Freddy Adu - Alecko Eskandarian (Nana Kuffour 74), Jaime Moreno (David Stokes 88).
"I was very, very, very, very comfortable in that role," said Adu. "Everything has been building up to this point, in my opinion. I felt like every time I came into the game in the past couple of weeks I had made somewhat of a difference. I just had to keep that intensity and keep it going."
Adu's play - coming in only his second full league match played - was the focus of all the post-match talk. "The last three weeks proved to me, proved to all of us, that he deserves to be on the field," said Nowak. "Players start to trust him and he starts to trust the players. Today was great. Again he shows he belongs to this league and he belongs to this team, and the future is bright."
Added midfielder Ben Olsen: "I've been excited to see him in that position for some time now and I thought he did well. They gave him some time with the ball and you can't do that with a player like him. ... I think he's figuring this thing out now."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution extended their unbeaten run to six games - winning for just the second time in that stretch - scoring an early goal before surviving to claim two late ones in a 3-0 victory against the Dallas Burn on Wednesday at the Cotton Bowl. The Revolution just kept pace at the foot the Eastern Conference, still tied with the Chicago Fire for fourth place on 22 points, two points behind D.C. United and 10 points off the pace of the East-leading MetroStars.
The Revs scored after just three minutes, Pat Noonan turning home a low ball pulled back from the byeline by Steve Ralston for his eighth goal of the season and third in as many matches.
But then New England was put on the back foot for long stretches, though the Burn couldn't find their way past Revs 'keeper Matt Reis, who was credited with seven saves. The visitors then scored twice late on the break, Taylor Twellman turning home an Andy Dorman pass in the 87th minute before the rookie midfielder scored his first professional goal four minutes into stoppage time.
"I think really (Reis) was the difference tonight,'' Nicol said. "It's tough to take away from the defense when you win 3-0, but Mattie produced the saves when we needed them.''
Revolution head coach Steve Nicol made two changes to the team that drew 2-2 away to Columbus Crew the weekend before. Rusty Pierce made his first start since April 17, coming into central defense for Jay Heaps, while Marshall Leonard came in left back as Nicol reorganized again, Richie Baker the odd man out.
Here's Nicol's team (4-2-3-1): Matt Reis - Steve Ralston, Rusty Pierce, Avery John, Marshall Leonard - Shalrie Joseph, Joe Franchino (Jay Heaps 46) - Pat Noonan, Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 83), Brian Kamler (Felix Brillant 72) - Taylor Twellman
"We didn't play particularly well,'' Nicol said. "We weren't particularly happy with the way we passed the ball. The last time we played here we played great but lost, 3-1. In the past, we've lost some goals late in the game. It was nice to keep a clean sheet here tonight.''
After missing two gilt-edged chances, Twellman finally hooked home Dorman's square pass in the closing minutes - and his relief was palpable. It was just his fourth goal of the season, and he's scored in just two games since the end of May, though he missed six games with a hamstring strain.
"It's hard to put a finger on what is tangible for a striker. There are certain things you can do during the course of a game. It's a striker's thing," Nicol said. "This is his third year and, unfortunately, when you've had the seasons like he has had you expect it all the time. And it's not like that all the time. Strikers can be playing badly and score two goals. All they are interested in is putting the ball in the net. If the ball is not in the net they've had a bad game."
The Revolution confirmed veteran English defender Steve Howey will join the club after his application for a visa is finalized. "It just depends on when we get the paperwork done,'' Nicol said. "It's going to take three or four weeks' time. There's nothing we can do. It's just the way it is, isn't it?'' They hope to have Howey in the lineup for the Sept. 4 game v San Jose.