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MLS Match Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake

April 6, 2013 (WEEK 6, MLS Game #46)
5:30 p.m. MT (NBCSN), live chat on

The Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake meet for the second time this season as the Rocky Mountain Cup rivals face off Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The teams met three weeks ago as part of Rivalry Week, RSL getting a late goal to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw in Utah. The Rapids are still looking for their first win of the season, coming off a 2-2 draw with Portland last weekend, while Real come off a 2-1 home win against Seattle.


REFEREE: Chris Penso. SAR (bench): C.J. Morgante; JAR (opposite): Greg Barkey; 4th: Ted Unkel MLS Career: 34 games; FC/gm: 22.9; Y/gm: 2.9; R: 8; pens: 12

SUSPENDED: COL: Drew Moor (through April 7)

HEAD-TO-HEAD ALL-TIME (26 meetings): Rapids 9 wins, 24 goals … Real 9 wins, 27 goals … Ties 8
AT COLORADO (12 meetings): Rapids 6 wins, 15 goals … Real 2 wins, 10 goals … Ties 4
RETURN MATCHES: 8/3: Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m. MT
2013 (MLS): 3/16: RSL 1, COL 1 (Saborio 80 – Brown 37)

  • This is the second meeting already this season between the teams. The clubs met March 16 at Rio Tinto Stadium as part of Rivalry Week, a late RSL goal securing a 1-1 draw.
  • The home team has not lost in the Rocky Mountain Cup series since 2007, when RSL knocked off Colorado 1-0 in Commerce City to close out their playoff hopes.
  • The home team won every meeting last year, Real Salt Lake winning by a 2-0 scoreline in both meetings at Rio Tinto Stadium, and Colorado winning 1-0 in the lone match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
  • The rivals play for the Rocky Mountain Cup, a trophy awarded by the supporters groups of both teams. The 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: Jason Kreis vs. COL: P17 W7 L3 D7 … Oscar Pareja vs. RSL: P4 W1 L2 D1


  • The Rapids suffered an early blow when goalkeeper Matt Pickens suffered a fractured forearm just four minutes into the match, and was replaced by debutant Clint Irwin, playing in his first professional match.
  • Colorado then took the lead midway through the opening half. Deshorn Brown picked the pocket of RSL center back Chris Schuler at the top of the area and broke in alone on RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando before calmly placing a right-footed shot to the back post.
  • But Irwin, who made two stops on the day, was finally beaten 10 minutes from time when Alvaro Saborío placed a right-footed shot from a tight angle on the right side of the box inside the far post for the equalizer.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-1-4-1): Matt Pickens (Clint Irwin 7) - Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Diego Calderon, Brian Mullan - Hendry Thomas - Atiba Harris, Dillon Powers, Kevin Harbottle (Nick LaBrocca 65), Tony Cascio - Deshorn Brown (Jamie Smith 80). • REAL SALT LAKE (4-3-1-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Lovel Palmer (Devon Sandoval 79) - Sebastian Velasquez, Kyle Beckerman, Khari Stephenson (Ned Grabavoy 46) - Luis Gil - Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 67), Alvaro Saborio.

The Colorado Rapids had their season-opening winless run extended to five games, the Portland Timbers coming back from two goals before ending in a 2-2 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday. The Rapids are in ninth place in the Western Conference with 2 points from 5 matches.


  • The hosts broke through after a quarter-hour in stunning fashion. Cutting inside after a pass from defender Chris Klute, Dillon Powers unleashed a rocket of a shot from 20 yards out and found the far side of the goal past a helpless Donovan Ricketts.
  • The Rapids then doubled their lead three minutes after the second-half restart. Striker Tony Cascio drew a penalty as he faked a shot and drew a trip from Diego Chará, and Hendry Thomas finished cleanly from the spot.
  • But the Timbers pulled a goal back in the 55th minute. After a corner kick was cleared, Ryan Johnson’s cross back into the box found an unmarked Will Johnson, and the Timbers captain easily headed home from short distance.
  • Portland completed the comeback in the 71st minute through an unlikely source. Colorado's Atiba Harris tried to clear a ball out of his own penalty area, but he clipped Portland’s David Horst in the chest in the process, and referee Drew Fischer pointed to the spot. Will Johnson finished from the mark, the Timbers' first penalty kick in more than a year, to leave the teams tied.
  • Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja made five changes to the team that dropped a 1-0 decision to the LA Galaxy. Shane O'Neill and Christopher Klute came into the back four, Nick LaBrocca and Tony Cascio came into midfield and Edson Buddle started up top, in place of Diego Calderon, the suspended Drew Moor, Pablo Mastroeni, Atiba Harris and Kevin Harbottle.
  • COLORADO RAPIDS (4-1-3-2): Clint Irwin - Brian Mullan, Shane O'Neill, Marvell Wynne, Christopher Klute - Hendry Thomas - Nick LaBrocca (Kamani Hill 82), Dillon Powers, Tony Cascio (Danny Mwanga 72) - Deshorn Brown, Edson Buddle (Atiba Harris 61).


  • After running out his team with three strikers for the opening four matches of the season, Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja opted for a twin-striker approach vs.Portland, with Nick LaBrocca and Tony Cascio coming into the outside midfield positions and Dillon Powers in behind the front two.
  • “I thought Nick [LaBrocca] played well,” Pareja said. “I thought Tony [Cascio] had a good game in that [midfield] position. I think [Dillon] Powers was very clear in a situation where he can be closer to the goal, and it was clear when he had his shot and he scored a goal. So there [were] some movements that helped us.”
  • Said Cascio: “On offense, I still had the opportunity to come in or get outside. It was different, but I think we adjusted pretty well to it.”
  • Edson Buddle made his first appearance of the season after being obtained from the LA Galaxy in the offseason and undergoing knee surgery. He lasted 61 minutes alongside Deshorn Brown.
  • “I felt like it was my first game back,” Buddle said. “A little unfit, not as explosive, repetitive running as I’d like to do. I think the guys behind me did a great job of filling on the space for me, the ground I couldn’t cover.” Said Pareja: “I think he’s getting there. But I thought he did a good job. Today he came up and had a good half. I thought he started a little slow, but after that he was picking up his rhythm. His presence for sure helped the team today and I was happy to see that.”
  • Rookie Dillon Powers, the 11th overall selection in the 2013 SuperDraft out of Notre Dame, scored his first professional goal.
  • “Dillon wants the ball, it’s a good sign for a young guy to want the ball at all times,” said Buddle. “I saw him, I didn’t actually look at him, but I took a glance and put the ball where he needed it and it was a good shot on target and found the back of the net.”
  • Already missing Drew Moor through suspension, the Rapids also learned center back Diego Calderón will be out 4-6 months following knee surgery. Marvell Wynne shifted inside from right back for the first time this season, and Chris Klute made his first start of the season, recording his first career assist on the opening goal.
  • “There [are] a lot of positive things, I've got to tell you. Chris Klute played a very good game today. He's a young guy who's come along with the project, and today he did a great job,” said Pareja.
  • Opening the season 0-3-2, the Rapids are one result away from matching the worst start in club history. In 2003, they started the season winless in six matches (0-5-1).
  • Offseason signing Kevin Harbottle was out of the side for the first time this season after suffering a knee injury the week before. The club then announced during the week he will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a sprain of the left knee.

Real Salt Lake put an end to their winless run after three matches, knocking off Seattle Sounders FC 2-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday evening. RSL sits in a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 7 points from 5 games.


  • Real took the lead after just eight minutes. After he was stoned by Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, RSL's Robbie Findley pounced on a failed Sounders FC clearance then eventually bundled the ball home from almost on the goal line.
  • RSL doubled the lead in the 35th minute thanks to a set piece straight from training. Ned Grabavoy, positioned along the endline, flicked a Sebastian Velasquez corner kick back across the area for Luis Gil to finish with a acrobatic diving header.
  • Sounders FC closed the gap in the 57th minute. DeAndre Yedlin’s deep cross was flicked into the path of Brad Evans by Mauro Rosales, and Evans’ left-footed shot nicked off RSL fullback Tony Beltran before nestling inside the right post behind goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
  • RSL head coach Jason Kreis made six changes to the team that fell 2-0 to FC Dallas. Nick Rimando came back into the goal in place of Josh Saunders, Tony Beltran and Abdoulie Mansally returned to the back four in place of Lovel Palmer and Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Kyle Beckerman and Sebastian Velasquez came back into the midfield in place of Cole Grossman and the suspended Yordany Alvarez, and Devon Sandoval started up top for Joao Plata.
  • REAL SALT LAKE (4-1-3-2): Nick Rimando - Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally (Lovel Palmer 81) - Kyle Beckerman - Sebastian Velasquez, Luis Gil (Javier Morales 62), Ned Grabavoy - Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 14), Devon Sandoval.


  • The corner kick goal – right off the pages of a playbook – was the first scored this season from a set piece for Real. A year ago, RSL scored just seven goals from standard situations, fewer than just four other teams (Chivas, Montreal, New England, Vancouver).
  • “We have been looking at doing some different things with our corner kicks. I would qualify it as a weakness in the coaching staff, in the head coach in particular that he hates to work on dead balls, attacking dead balls, but we did,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “[During the week], we spent 30 to 45 minutes on them, and I think that apart from even the goal we were dangerous on a couple others in the first half as well, so it will be something that we look to build on, unfortunately for me.”
  • Making his fifth appearance of the season in his return to Major League Soccer, Robbie Findley scored his first MLS goal since Aug. 7, 2010, when he netted at Kansas City. But Findley lasted just 14 minutes – he scored in the eighth minute – before suffering a adductor injury.
  • “On the one hand I’m saying ‘Finally, we got Robbie a goal and we’ve got him off the schneid.’ Often times you have a feeling that forwards are going to score multiple goals once they score one, but then he gets hurt, so I guess if you press me for an answer I’d say that I’ll take the goal with the injury, but we will get him back quickly,” said Kreis.
  • Luis Gil scored his first goal of the season, matching his total from 2012 (over 29 league appearances). He now has four goals over his four-year MLS career.
  • “I think that he has been involved in quite a few good attacking movements over the first five games and has also got several shots off in matches,” said Kreis. “That’s what you need first, somebody to be involved in those plays and you need them to be creating their own or to be on the end of shots and creating shots for others. In my opinion his game is really taking a nice step forward.”
  • With Álvaro Sabório out after suffering a knee injury with Costa Rica for World Cup qualifying, rookie Devon Sandoval made his first MLS start and played the entire 90 minutes. Sandoval’s was RSL’s second-round selection (No. 29 overall) in the 2013 SuperDraft out of New Mexico.
  • "[Sandoval] gave us exactly what he has been giving us the past few months," said Kreis. "He just covers so much ground, works so hard and fights so hard for every single ball. … He's basically showing the rest of the guys what Real Salt Lake means to him, what it means this opportunity for him, what it means to get a chance to play professional soccer. I hope all the other guys take notice."
  • Javier Morales made his first appearance of 2013, coming on for the final 28 minutes, after missing the opening four matches this season after undergoing preseason knee surgery.
  • "I'm close, but I'm not all the way there yet," said Morales. "I think I need maybe one or two more weeks. Maybe I'll think different tomorrow, but I think I need just a little more time. I'm not quite ready, but I'm close."
  • Said Kreis: “We know how valuable Javier is. We know how gifted he is with the ball. We know that if we want to be an elite club in this country and in this league we are going to need a player like Javier Morales to make differences. So it’s good to have him back on track and moving forward.”
  • During the week, RSL took on Brigham Young University in an exhibition at Rio Tinto Stadium, John Stertzer scoring the game’s only goal in a Real victory.
  • Here’s the RSL team: Lalo Fernandez (Jeff Attinella, 46’); Lovel Palmer (Ive Burnett*, 81’), Aaron Maund, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Rich Balchan (Chris Wingert, 60’); Enzo Martinez; Yordany Alvarez, Khari Stephenson; John Stertzer; Jordan Allen* (Coco Navarro*, 72’), Olmes Garcia
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Real Salt Lake

Season Stats

Colorado RapidsReal Salt Lake
5Games Played5
7Goals Conceded5
18Shots on Target26
60Fouls committed55
61Fouls suffered58
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