Damir Kreilach had a goal and two assists in a 3-1 win over the rival Colorado Rapids that clinched the Rocky Mountain Cup for Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night.

The Rapids could have secured a berth in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs with a win – or a draw with some help. But RSL made sure they’d have to wait at least a few more days to do so, while also making their spot a little less tenuous above the Western Conference's playoff line.

Kreilach opened the scoring in the 13th minute, crashing in at the back post by latching onto Aaron Herrera's cross after Andrew Brody missed a front-post header. It was Kreilach’s 14th goal of the season and the fifth consecutive league match he’s scored a goal in, setting a new club record. Herrera picked up his 10th assist of the year.

Just before the Rapids brought on attacking reinforcements in Younes Namli and Michael Barrios, Rubio Rubin doubled RSL’s lead. Colorado were punished for a failed clearance as Kreilach pounced on the ball and slipped an inch-perfect pass to Rubin in the box. Rubin did the rest, tapping past William Yarbrough for his eighth goal of the season.

After Barrios and Jonathan Lewis struck the woodwork, Namli pulled the Rapids back a goal in the 73rd minute on a volley that deflected off Kreilach’s chest and past a helpless David Ochoa following a Colorado corner kick.

Colorado threatened for some more late dramatics, and both teams made a pair of subs in the 88th minute in what was a wild wide-open ending that saw Anderson Julio have a stoppage-time effort cleared off the line by Lucas Esteves.

But Julio got the last laugh, nutmegging Yarbrough at the death to secure three massive points, and the Rocky Mountain Cup to boot.

Goals

  • 13’ – RSL – Damir Kreilach | WATCH
  • 57’ – RSL – Rubio Rubin | WATCH
  • 73’ – COL – Younes Namli | WATCH
  • 90’+6’ – RSL – Anderson Julio | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: The Rapids didn’t clinch a postseason berth and RSL moved closer to securing their spot with their club-record seventh consecutive win at the RioT. Real Salt Lake moved up to fifth in the West with 42 points with matches against Chicago Fire FC, FC Dallas and the San Jose Earthquakes on the horizon. Colorado’s second bite at the clinching apple comes Wednesday against Western leaders Seattle.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: While Robin Fraser will rue the failed defensive clearance, let’s honor Kreilach for a brilliant ball in traffic and Rubin for the clinical finish on RSL’s second goal.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Herrera, playing on the right side of a back three, was terrific on both sides of the ball. But a goal and two helpers for Kreilach proved to be the difference and he deserves the honors.

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