Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview

Rapids host rivals Real Salt Lake in the second leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup

COLORADO RAPIDS vs REAL SALT LAKE
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
Aug. 2, 2014 (WEEK 21, MLS Game #197)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude)

It will be the second meeting of the Rocky Mountain Cup when rivals Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake meet on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The teams are separated by just three points in the Western Conference.

The Rapids return home following a 3-0 loss at New England in midweek, while Real head over the Rockies following a three-game home stretch that concluded Wednesday with a 1-1 draw with New York. RSL won 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first meeting of the season between the clubs.

REFEREE: Baldomero Toledo. MLS Career: 177 games; FC/gm: 25.3; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 61; pens: 66
AR1 (bench): Adam Garner; AR2 (opposite): Anthony Vasoli; 4th: Younes Marrakchi

SUSPENDED: COL: Thomas Piermayr (through Aug. 3)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Tony Beltran, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Carlos Alvarez … RSL: Nat Borchers, Alvaro Saborio, Chris Schuler, Luke Mulholland, Olmes Garcia
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (29 meetings): Rapids 10 wins, 28 goals … Real 10 wins, 31 goals … Ties 9
AT COLORADO (14 meetings): Rapids 7 wins, 18 goals … Real 2 wins, 12 goals … Ties 5
FUTURE MATCH: 9/19: Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids, 8 p.m. MT

2014 (MLS):
5/17: RSL 2, COL 1 (Plata 23, Morales 50 – Moor 83)

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Joao Plata and Javier Morales scored on either side of halftime to lead Real to a 2-1 win, May 17 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
  • The home team has not lost in the Rocky Mountain Cup series since 2007, when RSL knocked off Colorado 1- 0 in Commerce City to close out their playoff hopes.
  • The rivals play for the Rocky Mountain Cup, a trophy awarded by the supporters groups of both teams. The rivalry has lived up to its billing in past seasons, as last-day results sent RSL into the MLS Cup Playoffs ahead of their rivals in 2008 (a last-minute RSL goal for a 1-1 tie) and 2009 (a 3-0 Real win). In 2007, the RSL win also ended the Rapids’ playoff hopes, though Real did not qualify either.
  • Coaches record: Pablo Mastroeni vs. RSL: P1 W0 L1 T0 … Jeff Cassar vs. COL: P1 W1 L0 T0

LAST MEETING (MLS)

  • Real took the lead in the 23rd minute, following a nice passing sequence from right to left. Tony Beltran sent a pass to Devon Sandoval, who gave a nice pass to Javier Morales, who set Joao Plata up beautifully for a left-footed drive from the left side of the box, back across the goal and inside the right post.
  • Five minutes into the second half, RSL doubled the lead. Sandoval was taken down by Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin and referee Mark Geiger pointed to the spot, and Morales stepped up and put it in the upper right corner of the goal.
  • There was another late answer from the Rapids, when in the 83rd minute, center back Drew Moor cut the lead in half with a header off Dillon Serna's free kick.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Jeff Attinella - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert – Ned Grabavoy, Cole Grossman, Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez 90) - Javier Morales (John Stertzer 90) - Joao Plata (Luis Gil 89), Devon Sandoval.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Chris Klute, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Marc Burch (Danny Mwanga 89) - Dillon Serna, Nathan Sturgis (Kamani Hill 49), Dillon Powers (Marlon Hairston 73), Nick LaBrocca - Edson Buddle, Deshorn Brown.

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids suffered their second loss in three matches, falling 3-0 to the New England Revolution on Wednesday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Rapids are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 21 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Revolution opened the scoring in the 10th minute. Charlie Davies held up the ball in the Rapids penalty area before finding Lee Nguyen cutting across the top of the box. The Revs midfielder shot towards the far post, the attempt finding the foot of defender Drew Moor, and the resulting deflection flew past goalkeeper Clint Irwin.
  • The match turned in the 75th minute. Rapids defender Thomas Piermayr picked up his second booking of the match from referee Juan Guzman after a hard challenge, giving the Revolution a free kick from the top of the area. Nguyen buried his attempt with a bending blast into the top corner for a 2-0 lead.
  • Three minutes later, the Revs iced the victory when Rowe received a through ball from Nguyen, dribbled into the box and snapped a high shot past Irwin for his first goal of the season.
  • Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni made four changes to the team that rolled to a 3-0 victory against Chivas USA at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Thomas Piermayr came into the back four for Marc Burch, Marlon Hairston and Kamani Hill started in the midfield in place of Dillon Powers and Dillon Serna, and Edson Buddle came in up top for Vicente Sanchez.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Thomas Piermayr (ejected 74), Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Chris Klute - Marlon Hairston, Nick LaBrocca, Jared Watts (Dillon Powers 57), Kamani Hill (Dillon Serna 63) - Gabriel Torres (Vicente Sanchez 68), Edson Buddle.

TEAM NEWS

  • The Rapids suffered a second consecutive loss away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, and saw their winless road streak extended to seven matches. Their last away win came April 12, a 1-0 victory at Toronto FC.
  • The Rapids were shut out for the fourth time this season – but for the first time this year, they failed to take any points. They had played to three scoreless draws when shut out this season.
  • “I never felt like we looked dangerous, always looked like we were on the back foot instead of the front. But obviously there are games that you have to take something from, they’re going to happen, especially with a relatively young group,” said Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We just have to take our lumps and move on. … It definitely looked like there was a team playing with a greater purpose. Again, on the front foot, just imposing themselves, early and often in the game, set the tone. These guys were hungry and we were late to the dance.”
  • The three-goal margin of defeat matched the heaviest of the season for the Rapids, after losing 4-1 at Seattle Sounders FC on April 26.
  • “It might have been poor defending, it could have been very good attacking at times. It just looked like when we ended up getting the ball, we didn’t do anything to keep it. We weren’t working hard enough to earn possession higher up the field and then it becomes a slippery slope – you end up defending on your heels a lot,” Mastroeni said. “They did a great job of making it a real ugly game and really putting us deep and pinning us into our half. That’s as ugly of a soccer game as it gets, but they were better at it than we were.”
  • Edson Buddle made his first start since May 24, playing the full 90 minutes in a forward role. “It is something to expect with a young team like ours, it’s not easy. Every team is competitive in this league. We worked hard for the position we are in right now and we have to keep moving forward. We have to put this behind us and keep moving forward,” Buddle said.
  • Thomas Piermayr made his second start in the last three matches, but will miss out on the Real Salt Lake for certain following his sending off for a second bookable offense.
  • Gabriel Torres made his second consecutive start, partnering with Buddle in attack, his first starts after going more than two months without a first XI appearance.
  • “Coming off a performance from the weekend you want to throw in some fresh legs, bring some vitality to the group. It’s not a perfect science by any stretch, but I think you have a squad of 30 players and you try to utilize them to the best of your ability - not for this weekend, not for the following weekend, but for the course of the next couple months and the course of a season,” Mastroeni said. “It was an opportunity for players to step on the field and contribute and tonight collectively, I think we fell short.”

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake continued their undefeated home run, playing to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. RSL are in second place in the Western Conference with 33 points from 21 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • RSL took the lead in the 18th minute. Javier Morales put in a corner kick and New York goalkeeper Luis Robles made a nice save from the resulting attempt, but the ball rebounded to RSL forward Joao Plata in the left side of the area, and he fired the into the far side of the net for the opener.
  • The Red Bulls equalized in the 57th minute. A cross came in from the left, Tim Cahill laid it off to Thierry Henry, and he did the rest — firing the ball from about 22 yards out into the right side of the net.
  • RSL head coach Jeff Cassar made one change to the team that defeated the Montréal Impact 3-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Olmes Garcia returned to the attack in place of Robbie Findley.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert – Luke Mulholland (Luis Gil 67), Kyle Beckerman, Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Olmes Garcia (Robbie Findley 82), Joao Plata.

TEAM NEWS

  • Real concluded their three-game home stretch by taking five of a possible nine points. Following the trip to Colorado, RSL returns home for matches vs. D.C. United and Seattle.
  • “I’m a little more pleased with the performance, not the result. We’ve got a quick turnaround, looking at Colorado, and we feel we play relatively exactly the same way we do at home or away,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. ”We need to pick up some points. Colorado lost and Vancouver tied, so we picked up a point. We wanted three, but got one. I do think that if we play like [tonight], we will end up having three points a lot more than we end up tying.”
  • Said defender Nat Borchers: “It’s always tough dropping points at home. There’s always the other side of it where again we had I think a very good second half, and we created some great chances, and we just got to keep pushing through it. This is the summer - it’s hot and guys’ legs are a little bit tired and a little heavy, and I think that we’re doing the right things. That just means we’re going to keep creating chances and we’re going to get those goals.”
  • For a sixth consecutive game, Real allowed just a single goal. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando has been chasing a share of the MLS all-time shutout record of 112, currently held solely by Kevin Hartman. Rimando is one away.
  • “I thought, attacking-wise, that we were very good. I thought we were good on both sides of the ball,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. ”I couldn’t ask more from our players. They had one shot on goal tonight, so defensively we were very strong. On a different night, we probably could’ve had two or three – a ball was played off the line, and their goalkeeper made another great save. … I’m not pleased with one point, but I’m pleased with the team’s performance.”
  • Said Javier Morales: “I think for a long time of the game New York had the ball and we had to get it quick, so we start to run without the ball and that is no good for us. Then when we get the ball and we were a little bit tired. We need to go forward, to make the good plays, to score our goals, so I think the whole team has to improve a little bit more.”
  • Joao Plata scored his team-leading ninth goal, his second in three games. He has three goals and an assist in his last seven games, since returning to the lineup following a two-match absence to injury.
  • “He’s just deadly right now. Most of his shots are on target, and tonight was no exception. He’s hungry, he wants to keep scoring. I thought he and Olmes [Garcia] were great together, and really put a lot of pressure on New York, then Robbie [Findley] did a good job coming in for the last 10 minutes. Joao [Plata] is very engaged,” said Cassar.
  • Said defender Chris Wingert: “His finish was unbelievable. He’s just feeling it and it’s not a surprise. ... He hits the heck out of the ball, he’s sharp around the goal, he’s got an unbelievable fighting spirit. I don’t know if you can see that from outside of the field but the guy competes like crazy.”
  • Olmes Garcia made his first in an MLS game since June 7, coming into the attack alongside Plata. Garcia had come off the substitutes’ bench in each of the last three games.
  • “I’m really pleased. I can’t remember everything that’s going on, but I thought he was lively and threatening. He did a great job, defensively, on a few plays – which was huge – so overall I’m really pleased with him,” said Cassar.