Preview: Colorado at Salt Lake, Juy 21, 2012

Rapids and RSL in match #2 of Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup series

REAL SALT LAKE vs COLORADO RAPIDS
RIO TINTO STADIUM, Sandy, Utah
July 21, 2012 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #194)
8 p.m. MT  (Altitude; FM 93.7, AM 1510; FM 87.7)

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It's the second Rocky Mountain Cup meeting of the season when Real Salt Lake play host to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real return to action after one of their biggest defeats in years, a 5-0 loss at San Jose last weekend. The Rapids come to Utah on a four-game losing run, coming off a 2-1 defeat at Toronto FC. The rivalry was renewed earlier this season, when Real took a 2-0 home win in April.

REFEREE: Silviu Petrescu. SAR (bench): Kevin Duliba; JAR (opposite): Baboucarr Jallow; 4th: Allen Chapman
MLS Career: 47 games; FC/gm: 27.4; Y/gm: 3.8; R: 8; pens: 7

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INJURY REPORT:

  • REAL SALT LAKE -- OUT: DF Chris Schuler (L foot bone stress response); PROBABLE: MF Javier Morales (R knee hyperextension); MF Ned Grabavoy (L adductor strain); DF Nat Borchers (L quadriceps strain)
  • COLORADO RAPIDS -- OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); PROBABLE: FW Conor Casey (R hamstring strain); FW Omar Cummings (L ankle sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: RSL: Kyle Beckerman (through July 22) ... COL: Jeff Larentowicz (caution accumulation; through July 22)

WARNINGS:

SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Jamison Olave, Jonny Steele, Alvaro Saborio

SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: RSL: Fabian Espindola, Will Johnson, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert ... COL: Jaime Castrillon, Tyrone Marshall, Martin Rivero, Tyson Wahl

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (23 meetings): Real 8 wins, 24 goals ... Rapids 8 wins, 22 goals ... Ties 7
AT SALT LAKE (12 meetings): Real 6 wins, 14 goals ... Rapids 3 wins, 8 goals ... Ties 3
FUTURE MATCH: 8/4: Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. MT

  • The Real strike pair of Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola each scored as RSL claimed a 2-0 victory in the first meeting between the teams, April 7 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • RSL has a seven-game unbeaten streak alive vs. Colorado. Since a 2-0 Rapids win May 2, 2009, Real have won three times, with four draws.
  • Real haven't won in Commerce City since 2007, a 1-0 victory at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in the season's final game. The Rapids have won two of their last five home games since, with three draws.
  • The Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry has lived up to its billing in past seasons, as last-day results sent RSL into the MLS Cup Playoffs ahead of their Rocky Mountain rivals in 2008 (a last-minute RSL goal for a 1-1 tie) and 2009 (a 3-0 Real win). In 2007, an RSL win also ended the Rapids' playoff hopes, though Real also did not qualify.
  • Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. COL: P14 W6 L2 D6 ... Oscar Pareja vs. RSL: P1 W0 L1 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS)
4/7: RSL 2, COL 0 (Saborio 20; Espindola 57)

  • Real Salt Lake grabbed the lead just 20 minutes into the game when defender Tony Beltran picked out Saborio with a left-footed ball behind the Rapids backline. Saborio timed his run to perfection, ghosted in behind the defense, chested the ball down and easily poked it past Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
  • In the 57th minute, Espindola scored RSL's second. The Argentinean appeared to bring down a Luis Gil pass with his left arm just outside of the area, but play wasn't stopped and somehow Espindola was able to poke the ball away from two closing defenders and past Pickens.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Sebastian Velasquez (Jonny Steele 59), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Luis Gil (Yordany Alvarez 82) - Fabian Espindola (Emiliano Bonfigli 92+), Alvaro Saborio.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Matt Pickens - Kosuke Kimura (Tony Cascio 60), Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Luis Zapata - Jeff Larentowicz, Drew Moor - Brian Mullan, Martin Rivero, Jaime Castrillon (Kamani Hill 76) - Omar Cummings.

REAL SALT LAKE

Real Salt Lake went down to their heaviest defeat in years, falling to a 5-0 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. Real sit in second place in the Western Conference with 36 points from 21 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: Quakes drop the hammer

LAST MATCH

  • Wondolowski opened the scoring in the 18th minute. A corner kick was nodded down by Alan Gordon and skipped across the face of goal, where Wondolowski snuck in to polish off Justin Morrow's back-post pass with a diving header.
  • The Quakes doubled their margin in the 63rd minute when Gordon added a tap-in from Victor Bernardez's post-rattling header.
  • In the 72nd minute, Wondolowski tallied again by converting with a near-post touch after Shea Salinas broke in down the right wing drove in a low cross.
  • Simon Dawkins cashed in from short range off a 79th-minute corner kick to make the score 4-0, and Wondolowski completed his hat trick a minute later after Khari Stephenson unlocked RSL's defense with a simple through pass.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the team that rolled to a 3-0 win against the Portland Timbers on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kenny Mansally and Kwame Watson-Siriboe came back into the back four for Tony Beltran and Nat Borchers, Luis Gil started in midfield for Ned Grabavoy, and Fabian Espindola came back in up top for Paulo Junior.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Chris Wingert, Kwame Watson-Siriboe (Sebastian Velasquez 73), Jamison Olave, Kenny Mansally - Luis Gil (Jonny Steele 52), Kyle Beckerman (sent off 57), Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola (Emiliano Bonfigli 78), Alvaro Saborio.

TEAM NEWS

Instant Replay: Of handballs and headbutts

  • The loss at San Jose last weekend was the second-worst in RSL club history, after a 6-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 26, 2006.
  • "Our team has lacked discipline this season and that especially showed after we went down a man," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "Some of our guys sleep-walked through the game tonight. It doesn't get much bigger than this game and I don't know how our guys didn't get up for it."
  • Kreis again made two changes in his back four with center back Nat Borchers suffering from a quadriceps strain and fullback Tony Beltran hampered by an adductor injury.
  • With his sending off, Kyle Beckerman will be suspended for the second time in less than a month, having also sat out the June 30 loss at Columbus with yellow card accumulation.
  • "We need to be more disciplined," said Kreis. "And when I say more disciplined, I'm not just talking about how we're reacting to referees' decisions. I'm talking about how the way we played the game tonight. ... Even a man down, we shouldn't be allowing four more goals."
  • The loss was the third in three games against San Jose this season for RSL, and widened the gap to four points atop the Western Conference.
  • "San Jose is a much better team than us. [The Earthquakes] have a lot of guys that bust a gut the whole game. They are a very blue-collar team that knows that they need to work extremely hard and be together and that's how you get a result,"said Kreis. "They obviously have some very talented players, but the way they play together is what puts them on top right now."
  • Following the match, striker Paulo Junior was sent to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL on a short-term loan. Paulo Junior made the last of his 14 league appearance against Portland on July 7.
  • "We think that this brief loan spell to Ft. Lauderdale -- where he played before -- will allow him to score some goals and bring him back to RSL sharper than ever," said Real GM Garth Lagerwey.

COLORADO RAPIDS

The Colorado Rapids suffered a fourth consecutive defeat, Toronto FC coming back for a 2-1 win Wednesday evening at BMO Field. The Rapids are in seventh place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 20 games.

HIGHLIGHTS: TFC extend Rapids' losing streak

LAST MATCH

  • Toronto FC won a penalty kick just two minutes into the match, after Luis Silva was taken down while rounding Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens. But Ryan Johnson banged the resulting spot kick off the outside of the right post.
  • That left it open for Colorado to break through in the 23rd minute. Hunter Freeman found Conor Casey near the penalty spot with a cross from the right, and the striker made no mistake in looping his header over TFC 'keeper Milos Kocic.
  • The home side drew level in the 51st minute. A short pass from Silva at the top of the box fell to Johnson after a couple of lucky bounces, and this time he poked the ball past Pickens from close range.
  • The Reds took the lead 16 minutes later. Doneil Henry laid a ball back to Silva at the edge of the area. His shot hit off substitute Andrew Wiedeman and pinged off the inside of the post for the match-winner.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made two changes to the side that suffered a 2-1 defeat by FC Dallas at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Tyson Wahl came into the back four for Luis Zapata, and Wells Thompson started in midfield for Jaime Castrillon.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Hunter Freeman, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Tyson Wahl - Brian Mullan (Jamie Smith 73), Martin Rivero, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson (Tony Cascio 69) - Conor Casey, Omar Cummings (Edu 72).

TEAM NEWS

Altitude TV: Brian Mullan, Dad

  • The four-game losing streak is the longest of the season for the Rapids, who dropped three in a row from April 7-21. Colorado has lost six of their last seven games, since June 16.
  • "Sometimes in games like these you are searching for answers and today's game is one of those games where we lost more than the points," said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja "I felt we lost our identity and that is very disappointing."
  • The Rapids have also lost their last four games away from Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
  • "We're definitely sliding; we just haven't been able to find a way to win," said striker Conor Casey. "It is kind of hard and frustrating right now to be able to really analyze the game. We're losing ground and we have to do something to change things around because we're not doing well and we're not getting points."
  • Casey scored his second goal in five games, making a sixth consecutive start. "He is the guy where the goals are going to come from and it is very good to have Conor scoring now," said Pareja.
  • "It's good that I scored and we've been scoring a couple goals but it is still not enough, a one goal game isn't enough and is not going to cut it," said Casey. "We need to score more goals and stop giving up multiple goals in games."
  • Jaime Castrillon missed a start for the first time this season, after he was ever-present through the first 19 league matches.
  • "Jaime was in the nursery as he was having a knee problem. He has some tendinitis in his knee so we decided to rest Jaime, especially with the long stretch that he has had," said Pareja.
  • Tyson Wahl made his Rapids debut, coming in on the left side of the back four for Luis Zapata. "Luis was experiencing some tiredness so we decided to give him a rest," said Pareja.
  • The Rapids have lost twice in five games when they've led at halftime, the losses the most in MLS when holding a lead at 45 minutes (along with the LA Galaxy).
  • "At the beginning of the season we were having good second halves." Pareja said. "Now, it's opposite. Some of those things, it's the same as before, it's a lack of concentration in our end. We've got to keep working."