Preview: Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids

SANDY, Utah (Friday, July 10, 2015)  – Real Salt Lake continues its annual Rocky Mountain Cup series Saturday against the Colorado Rapids in suburban Denver, as the rivals square off at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – the site of the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game – with a 7:00 p.m. MT kickoff on KMYU, with the game also carried on ESPN700 (6:00 p.m. MT pre-game) and La Gran D 102.3 FM / 1600 AM. Former RSL DF and current analyst Brian Dunseth – the author of the first home goal in club history, April 16, 2005 against Colorado – will call the match, alongside play-by-play man David James.

Real Salt Lake (5-6-8, 23 points, West 8) make the club’s lone road trip of July with hardware on the line twice this week, as Jeff Cassar’s club hosts the LA Galaxy Tuesday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in a 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal match (8:00 p.m. MT kickoff). Back on June 7, RSL and Colorado drew 0-0 in a nationally-televised match on ESPN, the Claret-and-Cobalt rescuing a point when Dillon Powers’ penalty kick at the death sailed wide, extending Nick Rimando’s amazing PK denial rate.

A year ago, RSL completed the rare three-game, nine-point sweep in the 2014 series against the Rapids, capturing the fan-created Rocky Mountain Cup for the seventh time in the last eight seasons with an uncharacteristically gritty 1-0 road win in Commerce City, as RSL played the final 44 minutes a man down following the ejection of DF Aaron Maund, but heroics from GK Nick Rimando and the entire RSL team made a 15’ Javier Morales goal stand up for the game – and Cup – winner.

Saturday’s match is the 33rd overall in the series, RSL with a 12-10-10 mark against the Rapids, outscoring them 37-29 all-time. Away from home, RSL holds a 3-7-5 record at Colorado, outscored 13-18 by the Rapids. With a win this weekend, RSL’s total of 13 in the series would match its greatest regular-season total against any opponent, as the Claret-and-Cobalt have a 13-12-4 record against Chivas USA and a 11-12-7 mark against LA Galaxy.

How to Follow Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids

•   Coverage Begins: 6:30 p.m. MT

•   TV: KMYU – David James & Brian Dunseth

•   English Radio: ESPN700 AM (6:00 p.m. MT) – Bill Riley & Brian Kamler

•   Spanish Radio: 102.3 La Gran D FM / 1600 AM – Nelson Moran & Fernando Hortal

•   Online: The @RealSaltLake Twitter Feed will provide match updates

Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL @ COL Match Now Available Online

Following is the link to the Adobe PDF version of the MLS Game Guide in advance of Saturday’s contest between Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids.

Click here to download the PDF version of the MLS Game Guide for Saturday’s RSL @ Colorado matchup

RSL is 5-1-6 across all competitions so far this season at its Sandy venue, including a pair of home wins in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Since the beginning of 2008, RSL boasts a 91-19-39 mark in its last 149 home games (all comps) in that span, during which it has outscored opponents by 160 goals (270/110), with a 73-14-36 reg. season mark (221/90), 6-1-1 CCL record (17/5), 5-2-2 playoffs (11/4) and 7-2-0 in the Open Cup (20/10).

RSL’s Open Cup Quarterfinal match against the LA Galaxy will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium NEXT Tuesday, July 14, with kickoff at 8:00 p.m. MT. Tickets for the match are currently on sale, with RSL season ticket holders receiving preferred pricing for their seats plus additionals. Call 801.727.2700 for details or visit RealSaltLake.com.

June/July Slate Dictates Home Cooking for RSL; Open Cup / CCL Paths Determined

Last week’s 1-1 home draw against Orlando concluded a run of six games in 18 days (five of which were at home), while a crowded July slate continues on in a month that also sees five of six games at home, with the lone road match – July 11 at Colorado – allowing the team to remain in the Mountain Time Zone.

That will change quickly in August, as last week RSL discovered its 2015/16 Champions League Group Stage competition dates, as the club will face Santa Tecla FC (El Salvador) and Municipal (Guatemala) with two home games and two away scheduled during six possible matchdates in August/September/October. RSL kicks off in Guatemala on Tuesday, August 4 – between road matches at D.C. United on August 1 and at Vancouver on August 8, criss-crossing the continent – before heading to El Salvador on Tuesday, September 15. RSL will host the final two group matches of this Fall’s CCL play, with both included in the club’s 2015 season-ticket package, on Thursday, September 24 against Santa Tecla FC (CONCACAF Game A) and Tuesday, October 20 (CONCACAF Game B) at Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL’s 2-0 victory over NYCFC back on May 23 kicked off a run that sees RSL play 14 games in 60 days from Memorial Day to Pioneer Day (11 MLS reg. season matches plus three U.S. Open Cup contests), all while managing injuries, national team duty and disciplinary suspensions.

Should RSL win its Quarterfinal match on Tuesday over LA Galaxy, it would travel to either Kansas City or Houston for the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, likely to be played on August 11 – on the heels of trips to Washington, D.C., Guatemala City and Vancouver.

Schedule Congestion Catalyst for Squad Rotation

As a result of the schedule congestion described above, RSL boss Jeff Cassar has distributed minutes all over the roster in anticipation of quick turnarounds and key absences due to international duty, suspension, injury and fatigue, as 23 different players have earned starts for the Claret-and-Cobalt in 2015’s first 19 games, while 27 players – all but GK Lalo Fernandez – have logged MLS minutes in 2015. June 27 against Columbus, homegrown DF Phanuel Kavita made his first-ever league start, while rookie DF Boyd Okwuonu later made his MLS debut as well. Both players made their RSL debuts in the June 16th 2-1 victory over Sounders 2 in the Open Cup.

RSL FW Sebastian Jaime in Red-Hot Form, Assisted by the Maestro

RSL FW Sebastian Jaime has scored in four of the club’s last five games across all competitions, and in each of the last four consecutive Rio Tinto Stadium matches for the club. Jaime provided the equalizer last week to pull RSL out of an early deficit against Orlando, and scored the game-winner just three days earlier against Portland in Open Cup play. On June 27 against Columbus, the formerly Chilean-based Argentine found the back of the net just 90 seconds into the second half to give RSL the lead over Columbus, just six days after opening his MLS account against Sporting Kansas City.

Providing the spark during Jaime’s emergence has been RSL “maestro” Javier Morales, who led RSL’s Open Cup comeback two weeks ago against Sounders 2, assisting on the Joao Plata equalizer early in the second half and scoring the game-winner himself minutes later on an indirect free kick play. Days later against Kansas City, the Argentine playmaker assisted on both goals by Jaime and FW Olmes Garcia, the first of the season for each attacker.

In MLS play, Morales now owns 40 goals and a club-leading 70 assists, giving the man who missed all of 2005/06 and most of 2007 and 2011 a foot in nearly 25% of every Claret-and-Cobalt MLS goal all-time. The 35-year old is showing no signs of slowing down, as his game-winning assist June 21 against Kansas City tied him with Kyle Beckerman for the all-time club lead (17 each).

After a scoreless, 9-man effort at New York, Morales set up Jaime’s July 1 opener against Portland, later converting a penalty kick created by a Plata foul in the box to insure the 2-0 win over the red-hot Timbers.

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