Cummings scores twice, Casey adds another as Rapids cruise to 3-0 win over Chivas USA

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Colorado Rapids forward Omar Cummings turned down an invitation from the Jamaican national team to play in a friendly match this weekend because of green-card issues.

That was a boon for the Rapids.

Cummings scored two second-half goals and Conor Casey added another, leading Colorado to a 3-0 win over Chivas USA on Saturday night.

Although Cummings will miss the friendly with Costa Rica on Sunday, he is planning to join the Jamaican team for a game Tuesday against Peru in Florida. Cummings had to miss the Costa Rica matchup because he's working on securing his green card and can't travel outside the country until it's finalized.

Cummings' footwear may have had something to do with his second-half success Saturday.

With the Rapids struggling, Cummings switched out his cleats at halftime, leading to his seventh and eighth goals of the season.

"My touches were bad and off a little bit. So going into the second half, I thought why not change (my shoes)," Cummings said. "Change my attitude and be more aggressive, take some shots and try to score some goals."

Casey scored the first goal of the night, knocking in a ball after Chivas USA goalie Zach Thornton mishandled a shot from Cummings. It was Casey's ninth goal.

Rapids goalie Matt Pickens was back in net after sitting out last week with back spasms. He tested his back early in the game by leaping high to poke a shot over the top of the crossbar.

It was actually one of the few times Pickens actually was tested as he finished with just one save.

The Rapids, who are in fourth place in the Western Conference, will play in New York next Saturday. Every point is important with the playoffs drawing near.

"I think that is a very American phrase — working toward the playoffs," Rapids coach Gary Smith said. "Your form is either good or bad. You finish the season well and you feel confident about yourself.

"We can't just look at the teams below us. Of course there is a magic number that gets us in (the playoffs). Honestly, I think this group is better than just getting in (to the playoffs)."

For Chivas USA, its postseason aspirations are growing more bleak. The team is in last place in the conference, 22 points behind front-running Los Angeles.

"We have to win the next eight games. We still have a chance to make it to the playoffs if we win," Chivas USA defender Mariano Trujillo said.