Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids will continue their quest for the 2014 Rocky Mountain Cup on Saturday, with the Claret-and-Cobalt heading to Colorado to face the Rapids at 7:00 p.m. MT at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of the match:
RSL looks to recapture Rocky Mountain Cup on Saturday
Real Salt Lake can recapture the Rocky Mountain Cup with a victory on Saturday after the Claret-and-Cobalt defeated Colorado in their first meeting this year, topping the Rapids 2-1 on May 17 at Rio Tinto Stadium. A win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will secure the trophy for the seventh time in Real Salt Lake history. RSL lost the RMC last year for the first time since 2006, going 0-1-2 against the Rapids in 2013.
First Colorado meeting of 2014 for Beckerman and Rimando
Saturday’s match will be RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando’s first encounter with Colorado this year. The U.S. internationals missed the clubs’ first clash after departing for pre-World Cup training camp in May. Saturday’s match in Colorado will be the U.S. duo’s sixth-straight match back with the Claret-and-Cobalt after returning from the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
This weekend’s match will also be the first time Beckerman will face former teammate Pablo Mastroeni as Colorado’s head coach. Beckerman and Mastoeini were teammates at Colorado, where the RSL Captain spent five and a half years from 2002-07 before joining the Claret-and-Cobalt. Mastroeni was given the top job at Colorado in March of 2014.
Saturday will also (again) provide RSL’s longest-tenured player, Rimando with the opportunity to tie the all-time MLS shutout record. The 35-year-old goalkeeper has 111 shutouts, one clean sheet shy of retired goalkeeper Kevin Hartman who holds the record at 112.
RSL looking for first win in Colorado since 2007
Real Salt Lake will be looking to earn its first win in Colorado since 2007 on Saturday night. The Claret-and-Cobalt’s last victory in the Centennial State came on Oct. 20, 2007, when forward Robbie Findley scored a late game-winner to give RSL its first Rocky Mountain Cup and keep the Rapids out of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Since then RSL has gone 0-4-4 in Colorado during the regular season.
Another week, another slew of postgame interviews from ABC 4’s Real Sports Live.
RSL commentators Bill Riley and Brian Dunseth sat down with three RSL players after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Colorado, chatting up goal scorer Javier Morales, goalkeeper Jeff Attinella and midfielder Cole Grossman for interviews that aired on Sunday night’s show.
Check out Bill and Dunny’s sit downs with the RSL trio below.
Bill with Attinella and Dunny with Morales:
Bill with Grossman:
Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids will kick off the 2014 Rocky Mountain Cup on Saturday, with the Claret-and-Cobalt hosting the rival Rapids at 7:30 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Here are a few storylines to watch ahead of the match:
How will RSL fare in first match without Beckerman, Rimando and Saborio?
We all knew it was coming, but that doesn’t mean that the absences of RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman, goalkeeper Nick Rimando and forward Alvaro Saborio due to World Cup duty will be any easier for the Claret-and-Cobalt to deal with this weekend. Saturday’s match will be RSL’s first without the trio, which departed on Wednesday for pre-World Cup camps with their national teams. Expect Jeff Attinella to fill-in for Rimando, Cole Grossman to step-in for Beckerman and either Devon Sandoval or Olmes Garcia to start for Saborio on Saturday.
Can RSL get off to a good start as it looks to reclaim the Rocky Mountain Cup?
Prior to 2013, the last time RSL lost a Rocky Mountain Cup, Rio Tinto Stadium hadn’t opened, a band called Hinder was near the top of the charts and Kyle Beckerman and Chris Wingert were members of the Rapids. 2006: Heady days. Real Salt Lake ripped off a run of six-straight Rocky Mountain Cups following that year, winning the trophy every year from 2007-2012. Colorado won the trophy back last year, with RSL posting a 0-1-2 record to cede the trophy to the east side of the Rockies. The Claret-and-Cobalt will want to keep the Cup’s stay in Colorado short, and can get off to a great start in the 2014 RMC with a win on Saturday.
Will home dominance continue in Rocky Mountain Cup?
The home team has historically dominated in Rocky Mountain Cup play, posting a 14-5-9 record over the visiting team in 28 RMC games. That dominance has been even more pronounced in recent years, with the home team not losing a game in the last 14 Rocky Mountain Cup matches, a streak that dates all the way back to RSL’s 1-0 win at Colorado on Oct. 20, 2007.
Battle of first-year head coaches
Saturday’s match will pit two first-year coaches against each other in RSL’s Jeff Cassar and Colorado’s Pablo Mastroeni. Cassar has gotten his career off to a sparkling start, posting an unbeaten 5-0-5 record through his first 10 games as Claret-and-Cobalt manager. That’s the second-longest unbeaten run to start a MLS coaching career in league history. Mastroeni’s start has been solid, if not as strong, with the former U.S. Men’s National Team stalwart guiding the Rapids to a 4-3-3 mark through its first 10 matches.
Find out how MLSsoccer.com's Matt Doyle and Dan Haiek see Saturday's Rocky Mountain Cup first leg unfolding. Give their Scouting Report preview a watch above.
Real Salt Lake lost its first Rocky Mountain Cup since 2006 last year, posting a 0-1-2 record against the rival Rapids to cede the trophy after holding it for six-consecutive seasons.
After going 0-1-1 against Colorado in the first two matches of last year’s competitions, RSL had a chance to keep the Rocky Mountain Cup with a win at the Rapids in the 2013 RMC finale on Aug. 3, 2013. Unfortunately, the Claret-and-Cobalt couldn’t quite pull it off, taking a 2-1 first half lead before allowing a 70th minute equalizer to draw 2-2 – and lose the RMC – in a lightning-delayed match at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
RSL will start its campaign to bring the RMC back to the Wasatch Front on Saturday, when it will host Colorado at 7:30 p.m. MT. Check out the highlights from last year’s RMC finale above and make sure you bring it on Saturday. Let’s make sure we bring the Rocky Mountain Cup back to its true home here in Salt Lake.
TUCSON – Real Salt Lake on Friday returned to the training field for the first time since Wednesday’s scoreless draw against New England, putting in a two hour training session ahead of Saturday’s FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup match against the Colorado Rapids.
Saturday’s match will be streamed live here on RealSaltLake.com, under the “Match Streams” page in Preseason Central. It will be the first stream of the preseason for the Claret-and-Cobalt, which has a 0-1-3 record so far this preseason.
RSL enters Saturday’s match in a four-way tie for second in the DDC standings with one point. Colorado is in sixth – and last – place in the tournament after losing their opener 2-1 against Chicago on Wednesday. RSL will finish Desert Diamond Cup group play next Wednesday, when they’ll take on USL-Premier Development League side FC Tucson at 6:00 p.m. MT.
The Desert Diamond Cup will conclude next Saturday, with the Championship and Consolation matches. The DDC round-robin stage winner will take on Mexican side Chivas de Guadalajara in the tournament final at 6:00 p.m. MT on Saturday, while the second- and third-place and the fourth- and fifth-place MLS teams will face off earlier in the day.
U.S. Soccer recently sat down with RSL’s Luis Gil, Colorado’s Shane O’Neill and Seattle’s Deandre Yedlin at the USMNT’s training camp, talking to the three former U-20 teammates about their experiences at their first senior camp.
Check out the video above to hear the 20-year-old Gil’s thoughts on being with the senior team. Sounds like Luis’s experience has been a positive one so far.
Gil, O’Neill, Yedlin, RSL’s Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando and the rest of the national team left Southern California on Sunday, heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil for a 12-day training camp at the site of this summer’s World Cup. The 26-man USMNT roster will return to California later this month, wrapping camp with a Feb. 1 friendly against South Korea. Gil, Beckerman and Rimando will join RSL’s preseason camp following the Feb. 1 match at StubHub Center.
The Western Conference’s final four was set on Wednesday night, with fourth-seed Seattle Sounders FC downing fifth-seed Colorado Rapids 2-0 at CenturyLink Field in the West’s Knockout Round to move to the Western Conference Semifinals against top-seed Portland Timbers.
The Seattle-Portland series will kick on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. MT at CenturyLink Field on NBC Sports Network. The winner of the Sounders-Timbers semifinal will take on the winner of the RSL-LA Western Conference Semifinal winner in the Western Conference Final series.
Real Salt Lake stacks up relatively well against the West’s remaining playoff teams this regular season, with the Claret-and-Cobalt registering a 4-3-2 combined league record – 5-3-2 in all competitions – against the Galaxy, Timbers and Sounders.
RSL was 1-2-0 against the Galaxy in the regular season. RSL and LA will play the first leg of their Western Conference Semifinal at 7:00 p.m. MT at StubHub Center on Sunday night on ESPN. The sides will meet next Thursday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. MT at Rio Tinto Stadium for the series’ second leg – get your tickets today.