Preview: Rapids look to snap skid at home vs. rival RSL
COLORADO RAPIDS vs REAL SALT LAKE
DICK’S SPORTING GOODS PARK, Commerce City, Colo.
August 4, 2012 (WEEK 22, MLS Game #211)
7 p.m. MT (Altitude; KTVX-ABC4)
The third installment of the Rocky Mountain Cup is ahead on Saturday night as Real Salt Lake visit the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are looking to end a club-record six-game losing skid, dropping a 2-1 decision at home to Seattle last weekend. Real have put together back-to-back wins in league play, and defeated Colorado in both previous meetings this season, though they lost their CONCACAF Champions League group stage opener at midweek.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Bill Dittmar; JAR (opposite): Matthew Nelson; 4th: Jorge Luna Hernandez
Gonzalez's MLS Career: 83 games; FC/gm: 24.8; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 24; pens: 23
COLORADO RAPIDS – OUT: DF Anthony Wallace (L Achilles tear); MF Pablo Mastroeni (headaches); QUESTIONABLE: FW Edu (R foot contusion); PROBABLE: FW Conor Casey (L hamstring tightness); FW Omar Cummings (L hamstring tightness)
REAL SALT LAKE – OUT: DF Chris Schuler (L foot bone stress response); GK Lalo Fernandez (R wrist stress fracture); PROBABLE: DF Jamison Olave (L hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: RSL: Jamison Olave, Alvaro Saborio
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: COL: Jaime Castrillon, Tyrone Marshall, Martin Rivero, Tyson Wahl … RSL: Fabian Espindola, Will Johnson, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert
ALL-TIME (24 meetings): Rapids 8 wins, 22 goals … Real 9 wins, 26 goals … Ties 7
AT COLORADO (11 meetings): Rapids 5 wins, 14 goals … Real 2 wins, 10 goals … Ties 4
4/7: RSL 2, COL 0 (Saborío 20; Espindola 57)
7/21: RSL 2, COL 0 (Saborío 32; Johnson 90)
- The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and Real Salt Lake have won the first two, each by 2-0 scorelines. Alvaro Sabório and Fabian Espíndola scored in the April 7 win at Rio Tinto Stadium, and Sabório and Will Johnson scored in Real’s home win two weeks ago.
- RSL has a eight-game unbeaten streak alive vs. Colorado. Since a 2-0 Rapids win May 2, 2009, Real have won four times, with four draws.
- Real haven’t won in Commerce City since 2007, a 1-0 victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the season’s final game. The Rapids have won two of their last five home games since, with three draws.
- The Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry has lived up to its billing in past seasons, as last-day results sent RSL into the MLS Cup Playoffs ahead of their Rocky Mountain rivals in 2008 (a last-minute RSL goal for a 1-1 tie) and 2009 (a 3-0 Real win). In 2007, an RSL win also ended the Rapids’ playoff hopes, though Real also did not qualify.
- Coaches record: Oscar Pareja vs. RSL: P2 W0 L2 D0 … Jason Kreis vs. COL: P15 W7 L2 D6
LAST MEETING (MLS)
LAST CALL: Previewing the top Week 21 matches
- RSL took the lead in the 32nd minute. Fabian Espindola deflected a Matt Pickens clearance from a slow back pass, sending the ball back toward the goalmouth. When he realized the ball wouldn't cross the line on its own, Alvaro Saborio tapped it in.
- Real finally put the game away in the final minute of regulation time. Saborio knocked the ball away from an unsuspecting defender and hit it ahead to a streaking Will Johnson, who clinically finished into the lower-left corner from just inside the penalty area.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 63), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert - Ned Grabavoy, Yordany Alvarez, Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola (Jonny Steele 77), Alvaro Saborio.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-3-3): Matt Pickens - Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Tyson Wahl - Jaime Castrillon (Omar Cummings 46), Martin Rivero (Kamani Hill 74), Tony Cascio - Wells Thompson, Joseph Nane, Edu (Brian Mullan 56).
The Colorado Rapids lost their sixth consecutive match, falling 2-1 to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids are in a tie for seventh place in the Western Conference with 22 points from 22 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: COL 1, SEA 2
- The Rapids were in front after just 80 seconds, as an unmarked Eddie Johnson rose above the crowd to nod a cross past Matt Pickens.
- But less than two minutes later, the Rapids had their reply. Martín Rivero’s through ball along the right wing found Brian Mullan, who crossed to an open Drew Moor, and the Rapids captain had to simply tap home the perfect pass at the back post.
- In the 65th minute, Johnson’s inch-perfect cross found an unmarked Osvaldo Alonso running into the box, and the Cuban midfielder one-timed a volley into the corner for a sensational decisive tally.
- Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made five changes to the side that dropped a 2-0 decision to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Luis Zapata came into the back four for Tyson Wahl, Brian Mullan and Jeff Larentowicz came into the midfield for Jaime Castrillon and Tony Cascio, and Conor Casey and Omar Cummings started up top for Wells Thompson and Edu.
- COLORADO RAPIDS (4-4-2): Matt Pickens - Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Luis Zapata - Brian Mullan (Andre Akpan 80), Joseph Nane (Wells Thompson 62), Jeff Larentowicz, Martin Rivero - Conor Casey, Omar Cummings (Kamani Hill 62).
- The Rapids have tied their club record losing streak with their sixth consecutive defeat. It matched their six-game losing run from Aug. 28-Sept. 26, 1997 – which was, of course, during the club’s first MLS Cup season.
- “They are conscious of being strong and not using more excuses because they don’t want more excuses,” Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja said. “They don’t want to say ‘Oh but we played better, we had many chances but we have just two mistakes.’ They don’t want to say that, they don’t want me to say that anymore. They are and I am tired of those excuses. We have to give answers and the answers have to come with results.”
- Following a 3-2 victory vs. Montréal on May 26 in Commerce City, the Rapids were in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference. They’ve lost eight of nine games since, and are now tied for seventh in the West, 11 points adrift of the final playoff spot.
- “Despite the moment, despite the bad results, despite of this situation when we run out of answers, Colorado Rapids fans are there pushing, giving us a great example. … We feel it. I want to tell them that we are, I’m going to say, embarrassed. Because they deserve more than this,” said Pareja.
- Said goalkeeper Matt Pickens: “We’re down 1-0 a minute and a half into the game, and it’s pretty pathetic. We need to be better. We need to look ourselves in the mirror. There are no excuses. We’ve seen it before, we’re seeing it again, and we keep seeing it. We’re the only people in this room that are going to be able to change it.”
- The Rapids have conceded two goals in each of the last five matches, and have allowed 32 goals for the season, tied for 14th-most in the league this season.
- “We have to put our heads down and work harder,” midfielder Jeff Larentowicz said. “I think that there are little things that let us down. I couldn’t say that we played poorly overall, but there are instances in the game that don’t turn out well and then [we] concede goals.”
- After a one-match absence, Conor Casey and Omar Cummings again reprised the strike partnership.
- Joseph Nane remained in the starting in the midfield, his second consecutive start in his first two league appearances of the season.
REAL SALT LAKE
Real Salt Lake won for the second match in a row at home, defeating Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2-1 on Friday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real sit in second place in the Western Conference with 42 points from 23 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: RSL 2, VAN 1
- Real took the lead in the 33rd minute, after Vancouver captain Jay DeMerit handled a Fabián Espíndola cross in his own area. Alvaro Saborío converted the ensuing penalty kick.
- But Whitecaps FC pulled level in the 52nd minute. Camilo sent a beautifully weighted ball over the top of the RSL defense to a streaking Darren Mattocks, and he beat RSL 'keeper Nick Rimando to the ball, touched it past him and slotted the ball into the empty net.
- RSL regained the lead in the 58th minute. Substitute Ned Grabavoy made a deep run down the right flank before finding Javier Morales. The RSL playmaker lofted a cross for Saborío to drive into the goal with a textbook header to the lower-left corner.
- RSL head coach Jason Kreis made four changes to the team that recorded a 2-0 win against the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium. Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Kenny Mansally came into the back four for for Tony Beltran and Nat Borchers, and Luis Gil and Kyle Beckerman came back into the midfield for Ned Grabavoy and Yordany Alvarez.
- REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Nat Borchers, Kenny Mansally (Chris Wingert 72) - Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 56), Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson - Javier Morales - Fabian Espindola (Yordany Alvarez 85), Alvaro Saborio.
- Real have put together back-to-back wins in league play for the first time since May 26-June 16.
- “Those last couple games where we had a rough spell, I don’t think we were so worried about the losses; it was about how we lost them,” said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. “I think we turned the page and left that behind us and now we’re just looking forward and knowing what we’re capable of and going out there and winning against some of these teams that we’re losing against.”
- Álvaro Sabório has scored six of the last seven goals Real have scored in league play, over the last four games.
- “I actually want to say as well that we shouldn’t talk about Sabo without talking about Fabian [Espíndola] because that amount of work that he is putting in right now if making Sabo’s a little bit life easier,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “Both of those guys are working extremely hard and I’m pleased to see Sabo scoring goals because for a long time he was doing everything and just getting very unfortunate so it’s good that he is in a good run and we will try and ride it as long as possible.”
- Sabório moved into a tie for second place in the MLS Golden Boot standings, with 13 goals along with New York’s Kenny Cooper, four behind leader Chris Wondolowski of San Jose.
- Once again, Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Kenny Mansally came into the back four, with Jamison Olave out with a hamstring injury and Chris Wingert also kept out of the team.
- “I think our defense is playing much better,” said midfielder Ned Grabavoy. “If you look at two guys that haven't played a ton of minutes with us, they have been playing really well, Kwame and Kenny Mansally. With Chris Schuler out, we needed that. And that's important going forward because when you've got guys we can put in the starting lineup to count on to get a rest, like Jamison or Chris Wingert tonight, that has been a big difference.”
- Javier Morales recorded his fifth assist of the season, his first since June 16. “Javier’s been patient with it and gone a little bit right and gone a little bit left and then I think served in a really terrific ball but the effort by Sabo was spectacular,” said Kreis. “I mean to get up that high and hammer it home and down was simply splendid.”
- On Tuesday, Real started their CONCACAF Champions League campaign with a 1-0 loss to CS Herediano in Costa Rica. The game’s lone goal came from Elias Aguilar after 14 minutes; RSL finished the game a man down after Nat Borchers was sent off in the 58th minute.
- Here’s the RSL team: Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Kwame Watson-Siriboe 63), Nat Borchers (sent off 58), Chris Wingert; Kyle Beckerman; Ned Grabavoy, Will Johnson (Jonny Steele 80); Javier Morales; Fabian Espíndola (Kenny Mansally 68), Álvaro Saborío
- “I was very good with the final score. When you’re down a man you can’t afford to take many risks. We feel that if we take care of business in our next two matches against Tauro, if we can have success in those matches; losing 1-0 is not the worst place to be,” said Kreis. “Herediano comes to our place in October, and only being down a goal, it would essentially become a head-to-head competition. We don’t think we’re in the worst spot in the world, we certainly don’t like where we are, but we’re not in the worst spot in the world.”