Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake | MLS Match Preview

Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, August 3, 2013

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COLORADO RAPIDS vs REAL SALT LAKE
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
August 3, 2013 (WEEK 23, MLS Game #208)
6:30 p.m. MT (Altitude; KTVA-ABC)

The Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake meet in the second Rocky Mountain Cup match of the season, this time with real playoff implications as the rivals face off Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in second place in the Western Conference – just three points behind leaders Real Salt Lake – after extending their undefeated run to six games with a 2-0 home win against the LA Galaxy last weekend. RSL still hold the top spot in the division and the MLS overall table, despite a late 4-3 loss at the New York Red Bulls last weekend.

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REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. AR1 (bench): Peter Balciunas; AR2 (opposite): Colin Arblaster; 4th: Younes Marrakchi
MLS Career: 18 games; FC/gm: 24.9; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 1; pens: 4

DISABLED LIST: COL: Diego Calderón
SUSPENDED: COL: Hendry Thomas (caution accumulation; through August 11) … RSL: Chris Wingert (through August 3); Tony Beltran (through August 3); Yordany Alvarez (through August 17)
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Lovel Palmer, Chris Wingert, Yordany Alvarez
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Dillon Powers, Nathan Sturgis, Shane O’Neill … RSL: Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Olmes Garcia
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (27 meetings): Rapids 10 wins, 25 goals … Real 9 wins, 27 goals … Ties 8
AT COLORADO (13 meetings): Rapids 7 wins, 16 goals … Real 2 wins, 10 goals … Ties 4

2013 (MLS):
3/16: RSL 1, COL 1 (Saborio 80 – Brown 37)
4/6: COL 1, RSL 0 (Harris 5)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. A goal from Atiba Harris stood up as the Rapids claimed a 1-0 win in Commerce City on April 6; the clubs met March 16 at Rio Tinto Stadium as part of Rivalry Week, a late RSL goal from Alvaro Saborio securing a 1-1 draw.
  • 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 home team won every meeting last year, Real Salt Lake winning by a 2-0 scoreline in both meetings at Rio Tinto Stadium, and Colorado winning 1-0 in the lone match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • 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 Rocky Mountain rivals in 2008 (a last-minute RSL goal for a 1-1 tie) and 2009 (a 3-0 Real win). In 2007, an RSL win also ended the Rapids’ playoff hopes, though Real also did not qualify.
  • Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. RSL: P5 W2 L2 D1 … Jason Kreis vs. COL: P18 W7 L4 D7

LAST MEETING

  • The game's only goal came after just five minutes. Rapids striker Edson Buddle held off two RSL defenders in the box and was just able to buy himself enough time to dish the ball off to Atiba Harris, who easily fired home from close range to score against his old team.
  • Real had a glorious opportunity to pull level just two minutes later. After RSL's Kyle Beckerman and Rapids rookie Dillon Powers tussled in the box, referee Chris Penso pointed to the spot. But goalkeeper Clint Irwin denied Alvaro Saborío with a diving save, pushing the ball off the post.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Clint Irwin - Brian Mullan, Shane O'Neill, Marvell Wynne, Christopher Klute - Atiba Harris, Dillon Powers, Hendry Thomas, Nick LaBrocca (Nathan Sturgis 84) - Deshorn Brown (Jamie Smith 76), Edson Buddle (Tony Cascio 57).
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-1-3-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally (Khari Stephenson 84) - Kyle Beckerman - Sebastian Velasquez (Javier Morales 46), Luis Gil, Ned Grabavoy - Alvaro Saborio, Devon Sandoval (Olmes Garcia 46).

COLORADO RAPIDS
The Colorado Rapids stretched their undefeated streak to six games, defeating the LA Galaxy 2-0 on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in a tie for second place in the Western Conference with 34 points from 23 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Both goals came on either side of halftime. In the 41st minute, Dillon Powers delivered a corner kick for Hendry Thomas to blasted a header home from the center of the penalty box.
  • The Rapids scored their second two minutes into the second half. Edson Buddle flicked a perfect through ball in between Galaxy defenders and right onto the feet of Powers, who coolly slotted past oncoming goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made one change to the team that gained a 1-1 draw with Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field. Edson Buddle came into the team for Atiba Harris.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-2-3-1): Clint Irwin - Marvell Wynne (German Mera 70), Shane O'Neill, Drew Moor, Christopher Klute - Nathan Sturgis, Hendry Thomas - Deshorn Brown (Danny Mwanga 77), Dillon Powers, Nick LaBrocca (Atiba Harris 35) - Edson Buddle.

LAST MATCH

  • The Rapids extended their undefeated streak to six games, the club’s longest since going unbeaten in nine games at the start of the 2011 season.
  • “We were going to play prettier than that, maybe more attractive because that was the goal. But the way I saw the team with the solidness today was great,” said Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja. “Two things happened today that don’t happen to us quite often: that we lead in the first half at home and a good first fifteen minutes in the second half. With those two things we’ve struggled before.”
  • Dillon Powers scored a goal and added an assist in the same game for the second time in his rookie season, also doing it June 29 vs. Montréal.
  • “It’s really nice to score these goals and get an assist,” Powers said. “My teammates helped me out a lot in that one. … In practice this week, we actually worked on breakaways with guys on your back, so it applied perfectly to the game and I knew what to do.”
  • Powers has two goals and three assists over his last six games, with the two goal-plus-assist games in that stretch.
  • “Dillon, I thought, was outstanding not just because he contributed to the scoring but also because of the solidness that he has given us in that part of the field. I thought he was very mature,” said Pareja.
  • Hendry Thomas scored his second MLS goal, his first from run of play. His first came on a penalty kick on March 30 vs. Portland.
  • The Rapids scored their fifth goal this season from a corner kick, tied for most in MLS along with New York, Philadelphia and Real Salt Lake. Colorado has scored seven goals from set piece situations.
  • “The repetition and the training has helped us. For sure, now we are using the size that we have in our players and I think they are more connected to each other,” Pareja said. “They’re timing runs and getting in better spots. But that comes from a team that is training a lot and that pays off.”
  • Said defender Drew Moor: “We work on it a lot more than we did last year. In practice we go over it every week, several days a week usually, at the end of some practice sessions, and that’s key.”

REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake suffered a second consecutive loss, the New York Red Bulls scoring two late goals to come back for a 4-3 win Saturday at Red Bull Arena. RSL lead the Western Conference with 37 points from 22 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls were up 2-0 by the 23rd minute. First, in the 11th minute, Tim Cahill lost his mark and headed home a lofted free kick from Thierry Henry. The lead was doubled after Abdoulie Mansally was whistled for a foul on Brandon Barklage in the penalty area by referee Silviu Petrescu, and Fabian Espindola chipped home the ensuing spot kick.
  • But Real took the lead through an  Alvaro Saborio hat-trick. Just before halftime, Markus Holgersson was whistled for bringing down Olmes Garcia in the 18-yard box Saborio converted the ensuing opportunity.
  • Saborio then scored his second of the game in the 80th minute, squeezing a low shot past Robles from about 15 yards out. Saborio gave RSL the lead two minutes later, doing brilliantly to create space for himself and place a shot out of Robles' reach.
  • But the Red Bulls pulled level in the 89th minute when Espindola was brought down by Aaron Maund in the penalty area and he converted his own spot kick. Then in the 94th minute, Dax McCarty headed home a Brandon Barklage cross from the right flank to send Red Bull Arena into a frenzy.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made three changes to the team that suffered a 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City at Rio Tinto Stadium. Abdoulie Mansally came in at left back for Chris Wingert, Sebastian Velasquez started in the midfield for Luis Gil, and Olmes Garcia came in up top for Robbie Findley.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Jeff Attinella - Lovel Palmer (Joao Plata 77), Aaron Maund, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally - Sebastian Velasquez (Luis Gil 70), Yordany Alvarez (Khari Stephenson 61), Ned Grabavoy - Javier Morales - Olmes Garcia, Alvaro Saborio.

TEAM NEWS

  • Real Salt Lake have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, their first consecutive losses since losing three in a row last August 4-18.
  • “A little bit of a bad situation because it’s two weeks in a row, so we need to fix some things for sure. What’s interesting in a game like that is that there is a lot of bad but there is also a lot of good,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “I think we need to continue to press upon how many good things there were today with the team and we’ll get after the bad things. I think it’s just a few things we need to clear up.”
  • Alvaro Saborio made just his second start since April 20, missing nine of 11 league games due to either injury or international duty.
  • “It’s truly important to get him back and also scoring goals,” Kreis said. “You know he was critical for us there and he played a very good match. I wondered a bit about his fitness level, coming back from being with Costa Rica for so long.”
  • Saborio had scored just one goal since opening the season with three goals in the first three games of the season, until the hat trick vs. New York. It was his third career hat trick in MLS, after recording two last year; he has 12 multiple-goal game in league play.
  • “I felt good, my teammates were glad to welcome me back,” Saborio said. “I’ve always said I’m very comfortable with Real Salt Lake, I’m happy here and I’m happy because of the goals I scored but I’m very sad because of the way we lost. We deserved to win.”
  • Olmes Garcia made his first start in five matches, since June 29, and played the full 90 minutes for just the second time in MLS play. He recorded his third assist of the season.
  • “This is not the end of us tonight, we must continue … It’s important to play well and for me personally, I want to be able to help out the team with my abilities, but we’re a team and we win as a team and we lose as a team,” Garcia said.
  • Joao Plata recorded his second assist in the last three matches, his first assists since May 4 when he had a pair in a win vs. Vancouver.
  • “If you look at the five deepest players, or six deepest players including the goalkeeper and our holding midfielder, we have a lot of second choice players really,” said Kreis. “But they have all contributed to matches this year, they’ve all had positive moments and I thought they did the best they could. Those players still need to learn how to play every week at a consistently high level and it’s something that only comes through playing.”