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Dynamo done in by red card, early goals

The Colorado Rapids buried the visiting Houston Dynamo 3-0 on Saturday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, with all three goals coming inside the first 23 minutes of the match.

Jamie Smith's first Rapids goal put Colorado ahead after just two minutes, and then Houston was forced into a deeper hole when midfielder Lovel Palmer was controversially sent off after just 10 minutes for retaliating against Rapids captain Pablo Mastroeni after the two collided in pursuit of a ball and Mastroeni kicked Palmer while on the ground. Rapids forwards Omar Cummings and Conor Casey put away the result with another two goals inside the first 23 minutes.

While the win helps the Rapids hold on to their playoff positioning, the Dynamo fell further behind in the race for the postseason.

Casey was the provider on Colorado's first two tallies, providing a perfect through ball to Smith and serving up Cummings with an appetizing cross in front of goal in the 16th minute. Seven minutes later the big forward notched his team's third with a header into an open net after Pat Onstad saved a shot from Mehdi Ballouchy.

The game was largely over as the teams entered the locker rooms at the halftime break. The second half largely petered out into a predictable affair. Houston, which took off veteran striker Brian Ching after 45 minutes for a reported calf problem, struggled to create chances with its man disadvantage, and the Rapids did not create as many chances as in that opening half.

The Dynamo's best chance was a 56th minute shot by Brian Mullan, who cut inside from the left but saw his low shot saved by the leg of Colorado goalkeeper Ian Joyce, who made his first MLS start after regular starter Matt Pickens pulled out with back spasms. The Rapids' best opportunity came through Casey, who missed the target in the 81st minute.

Casey tied ex-Rapids forward John Spencer for second on the Rapids' all-time goal scoring list. He just needs two more to reach 39 and tie Paul Bravo, the club’s current technical director.

Houston Dynamo (6-11-5) vs. Colorado Rapids (8-6-7)
August 28, 2010 -- Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City CO

Scoring Summary:
COL -- Jamie Smith 1 (Conor Casey 4) 2
COL -- Omar Cummings 6 (Conor Casey 5, Pablo Mastroeni 2) 16
COL -- Conor Casey 8 (unassisted) 23

Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Andrew Hainault, Danny Cruz, Lovel Palmer, Anthony Obodai (Eddie Robinson 25), Brian Mullan, Brian Ching (Cam Weaver 46), Dominic Oduro (Mike Chabala 23).
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Corey Ashe, Brad Davis, Joseph Ngwenya.

Colorado Rapids -- Ian Joyce, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne (Danny Earls 43), Julien Baudet (Scott Palguta 69), Drew Moor, Mehdi Ballouchy, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni (Wells Thompson 60), Jamie Smith, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Sharpe, Andre Akpan, Quincy Amarikwa, Claudio Lopez.

Misconduct Summary:
HOU -- Lovel Palmer (ejection; Violent Conduct) 10
COL -- Pablo Mastroeni (caution; Disrespecting Game) 11
HOU -- Danny Cruz (caution; Tactical Foul) 70
COL -- Conor Casey (caution; Handball) 72

Referee: Abiodun Okulaja
Referee's Assistants: Anthony Vasoli; Peter Balciunas
4th official: Alejandro Mariscal
Attendance: 11,511
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-88-degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial