The second installment of the 2018 Rocky Mountain Cup between Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids seemed one-sided from the start, but a late Rapids equalizer from Dillon Serna spoiled the RSL party in a 2-2 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
RSL's offense sprinted to an early lead with two unanswered goals in the first 20 minutes of play. The game looked like a certain third-straight Rocky Mountain Cup victory for RSL.
Returning to his natural midfield position, Damir Kreilach sprinted into the 18-yard box in the 11th minute just in time to connect his diving header with a cross from Joao Plata. Plata added one for himself just six minutes later.
Then the rains came.
In the 24th minute, referee Baldomero Toledo whistled for a weather delay that lasted 45 minutes. The Rapids came out of the resumed play flying. Colorado's offensive pressure paid off less than 10 minutes later when Toledo awarded Colorado a penalty kick after Kreilach took down Johan Blomberg in the box. Forward Jack McBean converted and brought Colorado within one to finish the half.
In a back-and-forth game begging for a late game-changing goal, Rapids midfielder Serna became the hero for Colorado with a late equalizer. Serna cleaned up a shot by teammate Edgar Castillo that was blocked by goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
With the draw, RSL and Colorado will have to wait until August 25, for the final regular season matchup between the two teams, to find out the fate of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
- 11' – RSL – Damir Kreilach | WATCH
- 17' – RSL – Joao Plata | WATCH
- 33' – COL – Jack McBean (PK) | WATCH
- 88' – COL – Dillon Serna | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Colorado took advantage of the rain delay restart in the biggest way possible. Coach Anthony Hudson rallied his group to a fiery energy to start the paused first half. On the other side of the pitch Real Salt Lake were without coach Mike Petke due to suspension and were not as easily able to adapt to the evolving opponent's attack. The fate of the Rocky Mountain Cup hangs in the balance.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: After almost 10 minutes of intense offensive pressure, Colorado got their chance. After Video Review, Toledo awarded Colorado the penalty kick after Kreilach took down Blomberg. McBean converted the chance and changed the game. The PK goal was the turning point for the Rapids.
Brand new game, folks. pic.twitter.com/6vYWdKNO0Y— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) July 22, 2018
- MAN OF THE MATCH: RSL's Rimando, Kreilach and Rapids' super sub Serna all made good cases for man of the match, but Plata was the biggest workhorse on the field. Despite RSL giving up a two-goal lead, Plata made his impact on the attack. He had a hand in each of RSL's goals with an assist and a goal.
While we're on a weather delay, let's take a look at that 🔥 Plata goal! pic.twitter.com/sJrMficxrM— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) July 22, 2018