COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Real Salt Lake retained the Rocky Mountain Cup for the fifth straight year as they battled the Colorado Rapids to a 0-0 tie at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Friday night.
Despite having a few opportunities throughout the match to score the winning goal, both RSL and the Rapids failed to find the net in what turned out to be a tight and physical game.
The home side created the best chances of the match, particularly in the first half, when Sanna Nyassi, Kosuke Kimura and Brian Mullan caused the left side of RSL's defense a lot of problems.
Just three minutes into the match, Nyassi turned his man and dialed in a cross that teammate Wells Thompson somehow failed to turn in from close range. That set the tone for a night of missed opportunities.
In 28th minute, after Brian Mullan played a through ball to Nyassi, the speedy attacker got to the ball ahead of Nick Rimando and leapt over the 'keeper, looking for a penalty that wasn't called.
Thompson made his presence felt again, trying to atone for his early miss, just seconds before the end of the first stanza. After he collected a loose ball at the edge of the box, the midfielder fired a blast toward the near post but Rimando was there to parry away the attempt.
RSL finally started to come on in the second half, especially shortly after the hour mark, when Nat Borchers, Javier Morales and Fabián Espíndola all went close. Still, the better of the chances belonged to the home side.
Nyassi kept troubling RSL, but this time with his crosses off set pieces. In the 56th minute, Nyassi delivered a free kick service to Jeff Larentowicz at the far post, but his header from close range went high. Then, in the 70th minute, Nyassi again delivered a cross from a free kick, but this time it was defender Drew Moor who failed to find the net .
However, it wasn't until the introduction of big forward Caleb Folan that the Rapids proved even more troublesome, as in the span of a couple of minutes, the Ireland international twice missed some golden chances.
In the 82nd minute, Folan out-jumped RSL defender Jámison Olave to head a Nyassi cross towards goal, but Rimando again made a good save. On the ensuing corner kick – again delivered by Nyassi – Folan met the ball cleanly with his head, but this time he was denied by the crossbar.
The final 10 minutes were frantic for both sides, as each pushed forward on the counter to try and get the winning goal. Both defenses, however, held firm to see the game end in a stalemate.
With the result, Real Salt Lake (15-11-7, 52 points) retained the Rocky Mountain Cup thanks to a 1-0 win posted earlier in the season against the Rapids. RSL also ended a four-game losing streak with the tie while retaining their grip on the third playoff seed in the West. Their final match of the season comes at home on October 22 against the Portland Timbers.
The Rapids (11-9-13, 46 points), meanwhile, inched closer to the postseason with the draw, but were unable to officially claim a playoff spot. They next play their final match of the CONCACAF Champions League group phase on Oct. 19 against Santos Laguna in Mexico, before flying to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Oct. 22 in their final game of the MLS regular season.
RSL -- Yordany Alvarez (caution; Persistent Infringement) 38
RSL -- Chris Wingert (caution; Reckless Tackle) 44
RSL -- Fabian Espindola (caution; Reckless Foul) 55
COL -- Drew Moor (caution; Reckless Tackle) 58
RSL -- Jamison Olave (caution; Reckless Foul) 73
Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Robbie Russell, Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams, Yordany Alvarez, Javier Morales, Luis Gil (Jean Alexandre 89), Fabian Espindola, Alvaro Saborio.
Substitutes Not Used: Arturo Alvarez, Paulo Araujo Jr., Cody Arnoux, Rauwshan McKenzie, Chris Schuler, Tim Melia.
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Brian Mullan, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni (Jamie Smith 76), Wells Thompson (Macoumba Kandji 82), Omar Cummings (Caleb Folan 68), Sanna Nyassi.
Substitutes Not Used: Joseph Nane, Ross LaBauex, Scott Palguta, Steward Ceus.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Peter Manikowski
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-57-degree