The Rapids could have clinched the 2006 Rocky Mountain Cup Championship with a win over Salt Lake as they held the lead in the standings. However with the loss the title of top club in the Rocky Mountain region can't be decided until the two clubs next face off on Sept. 2 at Rice-Eccles stadium. For the latest standings and news on the Rocky Mountain Cup competition vist the official website of the Rocky Mountain Cup by CLICKING HERE.
In a busy game for both goalkeepers but it was Joe Cannon who was forced to come up with the big save first. Cunningham the former Rapids striker made an onside run before trying to catch Cannon off guard by shooting from a sharp angle. The Rapids goalie wasn’t fooled as he knocked the ball away for a corner.
In the 18th minute midfielder Kyle Beckerman attempted to score his second goal in as many games. His twenty yard shot beat Scott Garlick but not the crossbar as it powerfully richocheted out for a goal kick.
Cunningham did score in the 25th minute off of a long ball. Carey Talley played a through ball to Cunningham who put it past Cannon beating the Rapids goalkeeper to the upper left corner of his goal.
Cannon stopped Cunningham again on a breakaway in the 37th minute. The Jamaican-born forward was off to the races when Cannon came out and made a kick save in a spectacular one-on-one situation.
Second half substitute Fabrice Noel had a golden opportunity to equalize for the Rapids in the 50th minute. From just outside the six-yard box the young Haitian hit a ball that somehow sailed over the crossbar instead of into the back of the net.
Garlick made a fine save in the 57th minute. MLS assist leader Terry Cooke put a phenomenal ball across the goalmouth that Noel volleyed toward the far post. Garlick dove to his right to just grab the ball in the nick of time.
Salt Lake made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute. Cunningham beat defender Mike Petke on the right side of the Rapids’ defense and crossed a ball in front of the goal that found its way to Chris Klein’s foot and into the net.
Ten minutes later the Rapids went down to ten men when Cooke went out with a right knee strain after the Rapids had already made their three substitutions.
Eric Denton took Cunningham down in the penalty box in the 75th minute and earned a red card for his troubles. Cunningham scored RSL's third goal on the night off the penalty spot. Colorado played the rest of the match with only nine players.
The Rapids pulled one back in the 85th minute when Nicolas Hernandez played a short corner to Karanka who crossed the ball into the box. Martins who had been repeatedly sniffing around the goal area headed the cross past Garlick for his first goal in a Rapids uniform.
A stoppage time goal by Chris Brown finished the scoring while Cannon was out of the goal pressing forward in offense.
Colorado will next return to the INVESCO Field pitch this Saturday as they take on the Los Angeles Galaxy at 7:00 p.m. (MT).
Colorado Rapids Man of the Match: Thiago Martins
RSL – Cunningham (Talley) 25
RSL – Klein (Cunningham) 63
RSL – Cunningham (penalty kick) 76
COL – Martins (Karanka Hernandez) 85
RSL – Brown 90+
LINEUPS: Colorado Rapids – Joe Cannon Hunter Freeman (Thiago Martins 66) Mike Petke Aitor Karanka Eric Denton Terry Cooke Daniel Wasson Kyle Beckerman Nicolas Hernandez Jovan Kirovski (Fabrice Noel 46) Clint Mathis (Jacob Peterson 46)
Substitutes Not Used: Matt Jordan Colin Clark Dan Gargan Stephen Keel
Real Salt Lake – Scott Garlick Kevin Novak Eddie Pope (Chris Brown 23) Jack Stewart Willis Forko Chris Klein Mehdi Ballouchy (Kenny Cutler 64) Carey Talley Andy Williams (Douglas Sequeira 75) Jeff Cunningham Jason Kreis
Substitutes Not Used: Jay Nolly Nikolas Besango Jamie Watson Joey Worthen
COL – Mathis (Caution) 31
RSL – Ballouchy (Caution) 31
COL – Beckerman (Caution) 42
COL – Freeman (Caution) 58
COL – Kranka (Caution) 69
COL – Denton (Ejection) 75
RSL – Cutler (Caution) 77
RSL – Garlick (Caution) 85
RSL – Sequeira (Ejection) 85
COL – Petke (Caution) 85
Referee: Brian Hall
Referee's Assts: Corey Rockwell Jose Corro
4th Official: Scott McCaslin