Real Salt Lake 2, Colorado Rapids 1 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
Real Salt Lake could not convert either of their two penalty kicks on the night, but it didn't matter, as they defeated the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Friday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in the Heineken Rivalry Week opener.
As a result of the win, RSL regain the Rocky Mountain Cup this year, by virtue of winning the season series between the teams 2-1-0. The Rapids jumped out to take the lead in Friday's game, before a brace by Yura Movsisyan reversed the result in the hosts' favor.
The Rapids took an early lead, as Dominique Badji's long-range shot in the fifth minute was blocked by RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando, but Shkelzen Gashi followed up on the rebound and made no mistake to make it 1-0.
RSL, which struggled to find a foothold in the first half, found a crucial equalizer in the 39th minute. Rapids defender Eric Miller could not properly clear a ball in Colorado's box, and Demar Phillips latched onto the botched clearance before sending a centering cross to Movsisyan, who buried the chance.
Movsisyan grabbed the lead for the hosts just after halftime, as he took at the top of the box from Joao Plata, took a touch, then slammed a shot past Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard with a terrific individual effort.
It looked like the Armenian international would complete his hat trick in the 57th minute after picking up a penalty from Marc Burch, but his spot kick attempt went wide of the target to keep the game at 2-1.
RSL earned another penalty in the final 10 minutes, as Juan Manuel "Burrito" Martinez was brought down by Miller, but Howard saved Javier Morales' penalty kick to keep the Rapids within striking distance in the game's dying moments. In the end, that was as close as they got.
- 51' – COL – Shkelzen Gashi
- 39' -- RSL -- Yura Movsisyan (Demar Phillips)
- 48' -- RSL -- Yura Movsisyan (Joao Plata)
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- ROCKY MOUNTAIN CUP RETURNS TO UTAH: RSL have dominated the rivalry with the Rapids historically, and now they lead the all-time season series, 8-4. This particular derby may not get the headlines the Cascadia Cup, NY Derby or California Clasico do, but it's one of the fiercest in MLS and now the rivalry cup returns to the western half of the divide.
- LANDMARK NIGHT FOR VETERAN DUO: In addition to grabbing the win, two RSL players also reached personal milestones on the night. Kyle Beckerman passed Steve Ralston for most minutes played all-time in MLS by a field player (33,145), and Rimando passed Kevin Hartman for most games played in MLS, with 417. It was certainly a coincidence both marks were hit in the same game, but quite an accomplishment for two teammates who are rewriting the MLS record books.
- TWO PK MISSES, TWO HOT KEEPERS: Speaking of Rimando, he teamed up with his counterpart Howard to finish this game strong, as the RSL 'keeper blocked six shots on the night and Howard stopped four, including one of the penalty attempts. The game certainly grew in entertainment value in the second half, and between the penalties that weren't scored and the goalkeepers' performances, it was a match worthy of a rivalry battle.