The Colorado Rapids once again let themselves down in front of goal, failing to finish off any number of chances as they struggled to a scoreless draw against the Houston Dynamo last night. Many of those chances did fall to Omar Cummings but the Jamaican is finding it tough to net right now and he probably fears his starting place is under threat, only helping him to get more anxious in front of goal. From what coach Fernando Clavijo said after the game, the preferred striking duo would be Conor Casey and the ever industrious Tom McManus who would probably himself admit that he didn't have his best game yesterday. "Omar worked extremely hard but a striker needs to score goals and, right now, he is not." Clavijo was full of praise for Terry Cooke who came on for an injured Jacob Peterson at the end of the first half. Cooke has been controversially left out of the starting line-up in recent games and looked to be maybe even heading for the out door. Last night's performance could have saved his Rapids career. "Terry was outstanding," said Clavijo. "He ran, he participated and he showed me that he belongs in this team. His energy was very good." Whether it will be enough for him to start against Columbus next week may also depend on the extent of Peterson's injury. Clavijo, upset by the match-ending tackles on Peterson and Christian Gomez, was probably exaggerating when he voiced fears that Peterson may have an ACL injury and Gomez a fracture. Peterson told me after the game that he hopes the injury will not force him to miss any games. Gomez, the Rapids later said, may have a shin contusion rather than a fracture.
Cooke certainly did create a lot of chances when he came on, making at least two perfect crosses for Cummings and Clark who headed against the post in the 89th minute. If the crowd's reaction to his inclusion was anything to go by, he will be playing against the Crew next weekend. It was good to see him back and playing well. The Rapids should have had a penalty after a clear handball by Riccardo Clark in the 73rd minute. Justice was done a few minutes later when Brian Ching scored a perfectly legitimate goal for Houston only for it to be called back for handball. A quick word on the defense. Playing with just Erpen, Ugo Ihemelu and Pablo at the back, the defense was the strongest part of the night. They were instrumental in making sure we at least got the tie.