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Brayan Vera Vanquishes Colorado Rapids With Versatile Performance

Real Salt Lake 2 vs 0 Colorado Rapids
_September 2, 2023; America First Field; Sandy, Utah
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Real Salt Lake (11-9-7, 40 points; 4th West) vs Colorado Rapids (3-13-10, 19 points; 14th West)

What You Missed: Real Salt Lake controlled the majority of possession in the first 10 minutes, but it was the Rapids who threatened for a goal first testing Zac MacMath, forcing the RSL ‘keeper to his left for a fully outstretched diving save in the 11th minute. Eight minutes later RSL opened the scoring as defender Brayan Vera scored his first goal of the season and first with the Club on a wicked left-footed curling freekick. The Claret-and-Cobalt nearly doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time with a flurry of chances in front of goal but were unable to capitalize, heading into the break with a one-goal lead. The all-important second goal came quickly as the second-half got underway, with RSL capitalizing on a corner kick opportunity when Chicho sprung out of the air to head the ball past Colorado ‘keeper Marko Ilić in the 49th minute. RSL contained the Rapids for the rest of the match, cruising to a 2-0 victory to claim a third-consecutive Rocky Mountain Cup. 

Man of the Match: Brayan Vera scored a breathtaking freekick in the 19th minute for his first career MLS goal. Vera was also an integral part in defense, helping the backline to shut out the Colorado attack, securing the ninth clean sheet this season across all competitions. 

Telling Stats: RSL retains the Rocky Mountain Cup, winning the trophy for the 14th time since 2005 and extending its record against the Rapids to 11-3-2 in all comps since 2018. The win snaps a four-game losing streak for Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni’s side as RSL improves to 13-0-1 when scoring first across all comps. Colorado’s failure to score marks the fifth-consecutive match without a goal and ninth in their last 10 matches. 

What’s Next?: Real Salt Lake will have a bye this week before traveling to California to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, September 16 at 8:30 p.m. MT, where they will look to improve upon their impressive 6-4-3 road record. Last time against the Earthquakes in April, RSL won handily 3-1 with goals from Jasper Löffelsend, Jefferson Savarino, and Andrés Gómez.