COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Colorado Rapids (5-16-12, 27 pts) host Rocky Mountain rivals Real Salt Lake (13-12-8, 47 pts) at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on Decision Day this Saturday, October 21, for the club’s final game of the 2023 MLS season (7 p.m. MT; Apple TV – Free, Altitude Sports Radio 950 AM).
Last Saturday, the Rapids played FC Dallas to a 1-1 draw at Toyota Stadium in what was a rescheduled match after the initial meeting slated for Oct. 4 was postponed due to inclement weather. Due to the overlap with an international break, the Rapids came into the game missing forward Diego Rubio, defender Moïse Bombito and midfielder Danny Leyva, who were called up for Chile (World Cup Qualifiers), Canada (international friendly) and the United States (Pan American Games), respectively. Colorado took the lead after Cole Bassett’s free kick struck the post before Rafael Navarro swept in to finish the play and score his first goal in Burgundy since joining the club on loan from Palmeiras in July. The Rapids have scored in every game since interim head coach Chris Little took the helm on Sept. 5.
Saturday’s match will be the third regular-season encounter between the Rapids and Real Salt Lake. The two sides first met on May 20 in Colorado, which resulted in a 3-2 win for the Utah side. RSL took the second matchup, as well, a 2-0 win at America First Field on Sept. 2 that clinched the 2024 Rocky Mountain Cup for the club.
Real Salt Lake return to Colorado on an eight-game scoring streak, although the club has lost three of their previous six games since last facing the Rapids (2-3-1). In the club’s most recent match, RSL faced the LA Galaxy in Carson, California, where the two teams played to a 2-2 draw in a rescheduled match that was originally slated for Aug. 20 but was moved due to Hurricane Hillary. The Utah side rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a point on the road as they fight for a home playoffs berth heading into Decision Day. Of teams who have clinched a spot in the playoffs, RSL is one of only two teams from both conferences to concede 50 or more goals in the process. Forward Jefferson Savarino leads the team with seven goals while adding on six assists, which is tied for most on the team. Following shortly after is former LAFC striker Cristian Arango who has six goals since joining RSL during this past Secondary Transfer Window.
Real Salt Lake head coach and Rapids club icon Pablo Mastroeni will be facing Colorado for the fourth time in the regular season as a head coach. The former U.S. Men’s National Team stalwart spent 12 seasons as a player with Colorado (2002-2013) and holds the club record for all-time appearances (225) and games started (217). Mastroeni captained the Rapids to its first MLS Cup in 2010, and four years later, was appointed Rapids head coach. He led the club to the 2016 Western Conference Final while posting a then-club record 58 points in the regular season.
Saturday’s match will also mark the Rapids’ Fan Appreciation Night. As part of the night’s celebrations, Rapids fans will receive special gameday perks: season ticket members will receive 20% off all concessions, while non-season ticket members can enjoy 10% off all food items. Additionally, all fans will be able to enjoy select $3 items, such as hot dogs and pretzels.