COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Andres Mendoza scored twice and the Columbus Crew rallied to beat the short-handed Colorado Rapids 4-1 Sunday night.
Mendoza’s seventh goal — sixth in the past six games — made it 3-1 in the 48th minute and Tommy Heinemann added his first Major League Soccer score nine minutes later.
Mendoza is one goal behind Charlie Davies, Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry for the league lead in goals. Mendoza preferred to talk about the Crew (6-4-6) winning two straight for the first time this season.
“It was a team effort,” he said. “We’ve been working hard all week to get three points. It’s not just me.”
His second goal of the game and Heinemann’s score came after Conor Casey was sent off after sliding into goalkeeper William Hesmer with his knee in the 29th minute.
“I don’t know what (Casey) was thinking,” Hesmer said. “It was extremely late. It was incredibly dangerous. I almost got the sense he was trying to intentionally hurt me, how bad it was.
“He followed through all the way up to my chest, through my chin. I’ve got pretty bad whiplash right now.”
It was the seventh time this season the Crew have had an opponent red-carded and the second consecutive match that Colorado (5-5-7) went down a man.
It was Casey who gave the Rapids a 1-0 lead in the 5th minute.
“Would (Casey) have made a difference? I think you would have had to say so,” Colorado Rapids coach Gary Smith said.
A pair of Colorado turnovers let the Crew take the lead on goals by Eddie Gaven in the 12th minute and Mendoza in the 18th.
“The real heart of this team is the ability to fight back,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. “That (Colorado goal) was a wakeup for us because we started a little bit slow.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)