SANDY, Utah—The Colorado Rapids kept their Rocky Mountain Cup hopes alive with two well-placed substitutions and a fortuitous weather delay in the first half.
A 71-minute lightning delay served to cool off Real Salt Lake, who had scored twice in the first 20 minutes. When the game resumed, Enzo Martinez replaced Yannick Boli and Colorado started to pressure RSL, which resulted in better opportunities and a goal before the end of the first half.
“This was a big game for us – a huge game that we can build on,” Serna said. “Coming from 2-0 down in an environment like this in a rivalry match – I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team. Now we’re going to go win the cup back at our place.”
The draw keeps Colorado alive in the Rocky Mountain Cup, as they’ll need a win at home later in the season and to make up three goals in differential to take it back from RSL.
The game was almost the complete opposite of the two teams’ earlier match in April where a Tim Howard red card (following a dominant 20 minutes) flipped the momentum. This time a lightning delay led to Colorado coming out on the front foot and finding success after the break.
“We regrouped and changed formations a bit and had a look at ourselves and our mentality,” said Colorado forward Jack McBean. “This rivalry means a lot to us, the fans and everyone involved with the club. So we just wanted to come out and work for each other. It changed when we got a goal and we fought all the way until the end and got the second one at the end there.”
As good as Salt Lake looked in the first 20 minutes, they never figured out how to handle Colorado’s pressure and left with more questions than answers.
“We didn’t build out once, all we did was kick out,” said RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak. “That was never our game plan. After the break for 70 minutes we kicked the balls long and lost every single header.
“I actually don’t know why we ended up tying this game.”