The Colorado Rapids won for a third straight game and kept their hopes alive of lifting this season's Rocky Mountain Cup, coming from behind to defeat rivals Real Salt Lake 2-1 after a dramatic second half Saturday evening at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

RSL looked to be heading for their second straight victory in this season's three-game series after a goal from Albert Rusnak early in the second half. But the high-flying Rapids quickly and decisively answered back with goals from Diego Rubio and Mark-Anthony Kaye to lift them above the LA Galaxy and into third place in the Western Conference.

The first chance of the match fell to the visiting Rapids, with Rubio side-footing over the bar after a clever cut-back from Michael Barrios inside the first five minutes. But much of the rest of the opening period was one-way traffic in favor of RSL. And the best of the chances would fall the way of Rubio Rubin.

First, the seven-times capped USMNT international failed to hit the target when unmarked in the center of the six-yard box after Anderson Julio served the ball on a plate for him with a low cross. Then in the 34th minute, Rubin looked to have his goal after he bundled the ball in from close range when Zac MacMath parried an effort from Justen Glad into his path following a free kick. Video Review would deny him, though, with Glad found to be fractionally offside on the initial free kick. Completing the trifecta, in the opening minutes of the second half, Rubin then somehow failed to make contact with the ball with the goal at his mercy on another low cross from the right.

But RSL didn't wait much longer for a deserved opening goal. Again danger came from the right, this time with Aaron Herrera pulling the ball back for Rusnak to drill home with authority from 14 yards out.

Despite RSL's endeavors to get the lead, it would be a short-lived one. With 64 minutes on the clock, Rubio directed a header from a Jack Price corner kick that seemed to take an eternity to bounce past the despairing dive of Andrew Putna, who replaced MacMath at halftime for his 2021 debut. Just seven minutes later, the Rapids had the lead. It was another header, this time dispatched with authority from Kaye from a well-placed Braian Galvan cross for his first goal since arriving in Colorado following a trade with LAFC last month.

Neither the drama, nor frustration for RSL, was over just yet. With just around 10 minutes remaining, the visitors were awarded a penalty when Damir Kreilach was pulled down in the box but the call was overturned following Video Review. Kreilach was found to have been offside before the foul was committed.

Goals

  • 51' - RSL - Albert Rusnak | WATCH
  • 64' - COL - Diego Rubio | WATCH
  • 71' - COL - Mark-Anthony Kaye | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: The game looked to be heading in RSL's direction after they dictated the opening 45 minutes-plus. But an inability to get more than one goal from their dominance allowed the Rapids to stay in touch and eventually mount a stirring comeback that maintained their hot run of form. Head coach Robin Fraser made his displeasure about his team's first-half performance known to the local broadcast crew at halftime and surely did the same to his squad. Whatever he said seemed to have the desired effect after they fell behind.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Mark-Anthony Kaye's booming header was an emphatic way to give the Rapids their 11th win of the season.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: The Rapids have made a habit of getting the most from players who have fallen down the pecking order at other MLS clubs – and they look to have done the same with Kaye. Aside from his game-winner, the Canadian international also had three key passes and played a major role in turning the game around.

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