Real Salt Lake have the Rocky Mountain Cup, but the Colorado Rapids may yet have the last word as the two teams prepare to meet at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Sunday (TICKETS).
Despite being out of playoff contention, the Rapids can still make life tough for RSL, who sit one point and one place below sixth spot and harbor ambitions of going beyond the regular season.
RSL has won the previous two encounters this season, including a come-from-behind 2-1 victory in Commerce City back in April, which ended the Rapids’ proud unbeaten home record, which stretched back to the start of the 2016 campaign.
A feisty contest followed at Rio Tinto at the end of August, with both sides ending a man down and the home team walking out 4-1 winners.
This is a third home game in a row for the Rapids. They defeated Montreal Impact two weeks ago, dealing their postseason hopes a blow, before denying FC Dallas all three points with a 1-1 tie last weekend. That point for Dallas, though, was enough to lift the Texas team back into the playoff places, at the expense of RSL.
The Rapids can again expect another desperate team to wander into Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Sunday, against one of the most consistent sides in the second half of the season. Since losing two in a row at the end of June, RSL have now only lost twice in the 13 games since. The fine run started with a 6-2 crushing of LA Galaxy at StubHub Center on July 4.
Sunday’s game falls on Fan Appreciation Night, and at the end of a disappointing season for the Rapids, players are determined to continue being that thorn in the side of teams making plans for the playoffs.
Eyes will be on Stefan Aigner, to see if the German can make it three goals in a row. Dominique Badji remains one short of 10 goals for the season. His aim from the start was to hit double digits for the first time in his MLS career. The Rapids, meanwhile, welcome back Tim Howard and Mekeil Williams from international duty, though the Trinidad and Tobago international is a doubt after picking up an ankle injury in the win over the Impact last month.
Two players definitely sidelined for Sunday are Micheal Azira and Jared Watts. Azira is still struggling with the ankle injury sustained against Montreal, while Watts completes his two-game ban following the red card against the Canadian club.
Rapids: Micheal Azira (out - ankle), Jared Watts (out - suspended), Mekeil Williams (questionable - ankle)
RSL: Jordan Allen (out - knee), Chad Barrett (out - knee), Omar Holness (out - knee), Demar Phillips (questionable - hamstring), Jefferson Savarino (questionable - ankle), Marcelo Silva (out - suspended), Ricardo Velazco (out - ankle)
HOW TO FOLLOW
Radio: Altitude 950; La Invasora 87.7FM (Spanish)
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Assistant (bench): Eric Weisbrod
Assistant (opposite): Mike Kampmeinert
Fourth Official: Jose Carlos Rivero
VAR: Rosendo Mendoza