An early goal from Joshua Gatt gave the Colorado Rapids Soccer Club a gritty 1-0 win over rivals Real Salt Lake on Sunday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard returned to the starting lineup after international duty, replacing Zac MacMath for the only change from last weekend’s 1-1 draw against FC Dallas. Howard would make a season-equaling seven saves on the night.
Just three minutes into the game, forward Alan Gordon’s cheeky flick found Gatt all alone at the top of the box, and the speedy winger slotted home the game’s loan goal. This marked Gatt’s second on the season - both scored against the Rapids’ biggest rival.
From there, Real Salt Lake began to find their way in to the game. The first of their seven attempts on goal coming in the sixth minute as Kyle Beckerman laid the ball off to Luke Mulholland. With a step forward, the midfielder powered a low shot from outside the box, but Howard was ready for the diving save.
The equalizer nearly came again in the 23rd minute when Luis Silva found Joao Plata in behind goal. The Ecuadorian attacker slipped his shot past Howard but as the ball rolled towards goal, Marlon Hairston made a last ditch effort to block Plata’s second attempt on the line.
Real Salt Lake would keep the pressure on for most of the match, again coming close in the 62nd minute. Albert Rusnak’s hard shot forced yet another strong save by Howard.
The Rapids were forced to make a pair of changes mid-way through the second half through injury. Defender Mike da Fonte and midfielder Dillon Serna checked in to the match in place of Dominique Badji and Alan Gordon, respectively.
With a quarter of an hour left on the clock, the lead was nearly doubled by Serna off a counterattack. The Homegrown player got the ball on the wing, but his ball across the face of goal barely missed a wide-open Gatt at the far post.
Real Salt Lake kept pressing late in the match, but the Rapids’ defense was up to the task and held on for the clean sheet in the final home match of the 2017 campaign.
The Colorado Rapids will look to cap off the season on a good note when they travel to Seattle to take on the Sounders FC at 2:00 p.m. MT on Sunday, October 22 (Altitude).
Colorado Rapids 1-0 Real Salt Lake
Dick’s Sporting Good Park; Commerce City, CO
Sunday, October 15, 2017
COL: Joshua Gatt (Alan Gordon) 3’
COL: Dominique Badji (caution) 24’
RSL: David Horst (caution) 43’
COL: Nana Boateng (caution) 90’+5’
Colorado Rapids: Tim Howard; Marlon Hairston (Bobby Burling 83’), Kortne Ford, Axel Sjöberg, Eric Miller; Nana Boateng, Mohammed Saeid; Joshua Gatt, Stefan Aigner, Dominique Badji (Mike da Fonte 68’); Alan Gordon (Dillon Serna 72’).
Subs not used: Zac MacMath, Ricardo Pérez, Luis Gil.
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran (Demar Phillips 28’), David Horst, Justen Glad, Danilo Acosta (Sebastian Saucedo 78’); Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland; Joao Plata, Albert Rusnak, Brooks Lennon; Luis Silva.
Subs not used: Matt VanOekel, Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert, Sunday Stephen, Yura Movsisyan.
Colorado Rapids: 9-18-6 (33 points)
Real Salt Lake: 12-15-6 (42 points)