A Mountain Feud
There’s much more on the line on Sunday than meets the eye as Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids go head-to-head for the Rocky Mountain Cup. Started in RSL’s inaugural season in 2005, the Rocky Mountain Cup is a fan-created competition between the two clubs. After Colorado won in the first two seasons, Real Salt Lake has lifted the trophy in seven of the last eight years, including last season.
The series has never lacked for drama, though, with the match decided on a goal in the final 10 minutes of the match on several occasions, including a couple in which Real Salt Lake eliminated Colorado from playoff contention.
Sunday could mark the first match that the attacking foursome of Javier Morales, Sebastian Jaime, Alvaro Saborio and Joao Plata start a match together in the formation utilized this season by RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar to get all four on the field together.
Last time these teams met, Jaime had his best match in an RSL uniform and the result was a 5-1 thrashing of the Rapids late last season. Can they repeat that in 2015?
Both teams are looking to end two-game losing skids, with RSL suffering narrow defeats on the road to the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC while Colorado dropped results in Seattle and at home against the Portland Timbers, both coming in a four-day stretch last week.
RSL hasn’t lost three matches in a row since August of 2012, ending two-game losing streaks on five different occasions.
The Maestro vs. The Midfield Destroyer
Given the slightest bit of time and space, Javier Morales is about as good as they come in MLS at finding a goal-scoring opportunity. Whether that comes for himself or one of his teammates, few have been able to match his 40 goals and 68 assists since he came to the league in 2007 and this year he has three goals and three assists despite seeing limited action due to injuries.
Now, he will likely square off with one of the more disruptive defensive midfielders in the league in Marcelo Sarvas. He was a key component to the LA Galaxy winning MLS Cup titles in two of his three seasons and now he is in his first season with Colorado. Out for the last seven matches after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in April, Sarvas told MLSsoccer.com this week that he plans to play against Salt Lake.