Sports

Rapids Win Season Opener, Beat Crew 2-0

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Drew Moor #3 of the Colorado Rapids heads the ball past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum #30 of the Columbus Crew after beating Eddie Gaven #12 of the Columbus Crew for a goal in the 43rd minute at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on March 10, 2012, in Commerce City, Colo.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Drew Moor #3 of the Colorado Rapids heads the ball past goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum #30 of the Columbus Crew after beating Eddie Gaven #12 of the Columbus Crew for a goal in the 43rd minute at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on March 10, 2012, in Commerce City, Colo. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) – Kosuke Kimura saw Drew Moor standing mere steps outside the crease and reacted in kind. The Colorado defender put the cross on goal where Moor had a chance to get to the ball.

“Drew Moor is on one of the best at putting a header into the net,” Kimura said. “There was never a question of where I was taking that ball.”

Moor scored in the 44th minute and the Rapids beat the Columbus Crew 2-0 on Saturday, giving first-year coach Oscar Pareja a victory in the season opener.

“It was a great all-around effort for Drew, who was very good on defense as well,” said Pareja, who was awarded a game ball. “This game was satisfying because everyone came together to get us this win.”

Quincy Amarikwa added a goal in the 89th minute.

Moor’s goal was set up when glare from the sun caused Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum to mishandle Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura’s lob. The ball went through Gruenebaum’s hands and off the end line.

“I never figured the sun to be down that low and because of the sun, I lost sight of it,” Gruenebaum said. “Once I got out of the sun, I realized I wasn’t under it, had to back peddle and was off balance enough to drop the ball.”

Kimura took the ensuing corner kick and sent in a long entry kick. The ball deflected to the left side of the goal to Moor for a header that went past Gruenebaum.

“I had been positioning myself for a header on previous possessions,” Moor said of the goal. “Kosuke put in a perfect ball and when it got to me that would have been one of those that it would have been harder to miss than score.”

Matt Pickens made three saves and had his 34th career shutout and 23rd with the Rapids. Pickens preserved the shutout with an acrobatic save of a ball that caromed off several players in front of the goal.

Colorado played without forward Conor Casey (torn left Achilles), midfielder Jamie Smith (torn right ACL) and defender Anthony Wallace (torn left Achilles).

“It was a tough assignment for us,” Columbus coach Robert Warzycha said. “We kept it close by limiting them to very few chances and the chances we had came from us.”

The Rapids had the only other quality scoring chance in the first half.

Omar Cummings picked up an unforced error in the Columbus end and broke in alone on Gruenebaum. But the goalkeeper came out and kicked away Cummings’ left-footed shot in the 18th minute.

Columbus had a scoring chance in the fifth minute. Eddie Gaven picked up a loose ball and kicked a low drive from 40 yards that Pickens smothered with both hands.

Milovan Mirosevic had a free kick knocked down by the wall in the 27th minute for the Crew’s only other scoring chance in the first half.

Cummings missed two more chances to start the second half. He picked up turnovers but sent two shots well over the crossbar. The Colorado forward tried to squeeze a cross to Scott Palguta but Gruenebaum got to the ball ahead of Palguta in the 52nd minute.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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