A crowd in excess of 61,000 fans showed up at INVESCO Field.
Chicago jumped to an early lead with an Ante Razov goal in the seventh minute. Defender C.J. Brown started the Fire rush with a midfield square pass to Jesse Marsch, who played the ball over the shoulder of a streaking Razov.
Razov nodded the ball down to his feet on the run, ripping off a hard shot from eight yards out past goalkeeper David Kramer.
Razov was shown a yellow card in the 34th minute for his challenge on Colorado's Wes Hart. The caution was Razov's third in as many games, meaning the Chicago forward is unavailable for Sunday's return leg against the Rapids.
A minute later, the Rapids lost their own scoring ace as John Spencer was shown a red card. The decision came after Spencer led with his elbows when challenging Brown for a 50-50 aerial ball.
The Fire's man-advantage did not last long as Razov was issued a second yellow just before the half. Given a lofted pass to midfield, Razov handled the ball to his feet. With the second yellow of the evening, Razov was ejected from the game, further opening the field for the second half.
Second-half substitute Carrieri evened the score at 1-1 in the 57th minute, capping off a give-and-go play with Mark Chung for his fourth tally of the 2002. Chung and Carrieri traded passes around the area to spring Carrieri, who beat Zach Thornton to even the score.
The Fire took advantage of the extra space afforded by the two ejections, re-taking the lead in the 70th minute of play. Josh Wolff fed the ball over to former Rapid Jason Moore, who sent a one-time shot past Kramer for the Fire lead. The goal was Moore's first ever career goal, coming against his former club.
Carrieri took control of the game in the final moments, scoring two in the last eight minutes. Hart fed Carrieri in the box in the 82nd minute, setting up a cross-goal shot that buried itself in the side netting. Six minutes later, Carrieri finished off the hat trick with another side-netting shot past Kramer.