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 Thursday, August 30, 2001 14:50 EST

Limpar cashes in with goal, assist

DENVER (AP) -- Anders Limpar can't remember his last goal.

"I think I got the one that opened up Mile High Stadium back in the '70s," the Colorado Rapids midfielder said. "All I know is I need to score more."

"I am known more for my passing," Limpar said Tuesday after the Rapids' 2-1 overtime win over the Chicago Fire. "I make the passes and corner kicks and my teammates know exactly where it is going."

Limpar ended his goal scoring drought -- he last scored July 25 in a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay -- with a goal in the final minute of regulation play to tie the game. Then his corner kick in the direction of the goal set up Marcelo Balboa's game-winning goal for the Rapids, 2-1-0 in their last three games.

"You can see the quality of service when he gets the ball is absolutely first class," Colorado coach Glenn Myernick said. "That is why he is here."

Neither team provided a scoring threat in the first overtime, but that changed when Limpar sent an apparent harmless corner kick. The ball deflected off several teammates and Fire defenders onto Balboa's left foot on the left side of the crease. Chicago goalkeeper Zach Thornton moved to his right, but Balboa sent the ball to the opposite side of the net.

"As soon as I saw it deflect off somebody, I knew it was going to come out and I spun around and that is how the ball ended up right there," Balboa said. "It was meant to be."

Andrew Lewis provided Chicago's lone goal late in the first half. The loss sent the Fire a game back of Tampa Bay, a 3-0 winner over D.C. United, for first place in the Central Division of MLS.

Limpar sent a header past Thornton in the 89th minute after Colorado pulled goalkeeper David Kramer. The Rapids had controlled play throughout most of the second half.

"The team losing at the end has nothing to lose and sends everyone to the net with no one back at that point," Chicago coach Bob Bradley said. "Making plays is all we needed to have happen and something we haven't been able to do the last few games."

After a first half of few scoring chances, Lewis cashed in a defensive breakdown in the final minute of the period to give the Fire a 1-0 lead.

Lewis and Chris Armas worked a give-and-go inside the Colorado zone with Lewis taking the return pass and sprinted past Limpar and Balboa. Before Colorado's defense could recover, Lewis sent a low drive under Kramer's left hand and into the net.

Kramer had deflected a shot by Armas over the crossbar 12 minutes earlier in Chicago's only other serious scoring chance.

The Rapids' best chance came 33 minutes into the first period when Limpar found Junior Agogo in front of the Chicago crease. Agogo's header was blocked harmlessly to the left side of crease and Thornton denied any rebound when he leaped on the loose ball.

"As far as I am concerned, the fireworks are anticlimactic because the big bang just happened," Myernick said of the game that proceeded a 30-minute fireworks display. "Balboa and the whole team refused to lose and he whacked it in with his left foot."

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