Blog

Colorado Rapids

12 March 11:06 am

Fantastic infographic from RSL's Ben Barnes detailing the history of the Rocky Mountain Cup Presented by Mark Miller Subaru ahead of the Claret-and-Cobalt's Saturday home opener at Rio Tinto Stadium against the Colorado Rapids. Check it out:



16 January 2:48 pm

The news of Robbie Findley's return to Real Salt Lake stirred up so many buried memories in my mind, so many classic moments. The hat-trick against Columbus, the brace against L.A. in his first RSL match, and of course the equalizer against L.A. in the 2009 MLS Cup all come to mind. But my "favorite Findley" moment is this one, his second goal in RSL's 3-0 win at Colorado in October 2009.

Two things make this goal special for me. First, after a beautifully-weighted long ball (attention: Andy Williams sighting here), Findley takes a touch that makes Preston Burpo look silly. Second, he seals the deal with a finish that's much tougher than it looks.

But perhaps the thing that most makes this moment stand out in my mind is not how special the goal was, but how typical it was for Robbie Findley in many ways. How many times did we see him score in situations like this: RSL with a one-goal lead, opponent trying to get forward to find the equalizer, Findley gets in behind the defense using his speed and puts one home? Having a player with his skill set was so useful for putting games away. The last couple of seasons it has felt to me like RSL has taken the lead in plenty of games but has been unable to extend that lead past a single goal, causing a few too many nervous moments late in games. A little bit of research yielded the following numbers: When Robbie Findley was with RSL, 60% of their wins came by margins of two goals or more. In the two seasons since he left, that number is a full 10% lower.

RSL could really use somebody who can hurt opponents who are tired late in matches and taking risks while they search for an equalizer. Let's hope Robbie can bring that element back to Real Salt Lake.

A former RSL beat reporter for multiple outlets, Jeremy Horton is a regular contributor to RealSaltLake.com and will cover the team for ESPN700 AM

07 August 12:33 pm

There’s no doubt that RSL turned in a lackluster offensive performance in last Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Colorado. The team looked tired, disjointed and struggled to create chances throughout, really only getting two good looks at goal in the entire match.

RSL’s biggest struggles came in the attacking third. Despite holding advantages in possession, total number of passes completed and percentage of passes completed across the entire field, RSL was completely outclassed in the final third, attempting and completing a fraction of the passes Colorado attempted and completed in the attacking area. 

Check out the below table for a more detailed look: 

  RSL Colorado
Possession 51.6% 48.4%
Passing stats - Entire field 334/420 293/409
Passing stats - Final third 27/51 76/115

On the surface, this might not make a whole lot of sense - Shouldn't RSL's advantages in possession, total number of passes completed and passing percentage lead to corresponding advantages in final third numbers? 

Well, no. Here's why: After scoring the first - and only - goal of the game in the 38th minute, Colorado - which had the possession advantage at halftime - backed off a bit. They allowed RSL to knock the ball around in the back, which boosted the Claret-and-Cobalt's possession number and improved the team's passing stats across the entire field. But by backing off, Colorado was able to maintain a tighter defensive shape in the final third. That compact shape made it hard for RSL to enter the attacking area (explaining the Utah side's low number of passes attempted in the final third) and, once they got there, made it difficult for the Claret-and-Cobalt to have success (explaining the team's poor passing conversion rate in the final third). 

Don't expect RSL to repeat last Saturday's poor final third performance in this weekend's match at Vancouver. The team wasn't quite right at Colorado, playing its third game in an eight day stretch which saw them make a midweek trip to Costa Rica. The players got a short break this week, taking Monday and Tuesday off before resuming training on Wednesday. That downtime should allow them to be both physically and mentally refreshed for the game at Whitecaps FC, something that should pay dividends at BC Place.

03 August 12:25 am

Although RSL has already secured the Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup for the 2012 season, the excitement is still not over, with the Claret-and-Cobalt having a chance to pull off their first-ever season sweep of the Rapids with a win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Saturday.

Get reacquainted with the Rocky Cup ahead of this weekend’s match with this history of the rivalry:

2005: Current RSL color commentator Brian Dunseth notched the franchise’s first-ever home goal at its inaugural home match on April 16. Click here for ESPN SoccerNet recap.

Apr. 16: RSL 1-COL 0

Sept. 21: RSL 0-COL 2

Oct. 1: RSL 1-COL 2

Oct. 12: RSL 0-COL 1

Series Winner: Colorado Rapids

2006: After swapping players with Colorado, RSL benefits by acquiring FW Jeff Cunningham who helped the team with two goals and an assist in an impressive 4-1 win on August 9. Click here for Yahoo! Sports recap.

May 27: RSL 2-COL 2

June 9: RSL 0-COL 1

Aug. 9: RSL 4-COL 1

Sept. 2: RSL 0-COL 1

Series Winner: Colorado Rapids

2007: RSL wins the Cup for the first time. The peculiar May 10th match in this series resulted in MLS’ only ever draw by own-goals. Click here for ESPN SoccerNet recap.

April 30: RSL 0-COL 2

May 10: RSL 1-COL 1

Sept. 22: RSL 1-COL 0

Oct. 20: RSL 1-COL 0

Series Winner: Real Salt Lake

2008: The pivotal October 25 match saw RSL clinch both the Rocky Mountain Cup and a spot in the playoffs. Click here for highlights.

May 15: RSL 0-COL 2

Aug. 29: RSL 2-COL 0

Oct. 25: RSL 1-COL 1

Series Winner: Real Salt Lake

2009: RSL retains the Cup for the third straight time. The sides tied on points during the season series, but RSL retained the Cup because of the club’s higher series goal total. Watch Leo the Lion protect the 2009 Cup.

May 2: RSL 0-COL 2

June 6: RSL 1-COL 1

Oct. 24: RSL 3-COL 0

Series Winner: Real Salt Lake

2010: RSL scored stoppage-time goals to draw both games. DF Nat Borchers’ late heroics secured the point on Sept 25 and – after Colorado carried a 2-0 lead into stoppage time – FW Álvaro Saborίo’s dramatic brace gave RSL a tie on Oct. 23. Click here for highlights.

Sept. 25: RSL 1-COL 1

Oct. 23: RSL 2-COL 2

Series Winner: Real Salt Lake

2011: FW Fabian Espίndola’s stoppage-time goal on Apr. 13 would be the only tally of the 2011 series. Click here for highlights.

April 13: RSL 1-COL 0

Oct. 14: RSL 0-COL 0

Series Winner: Real Salt Lake

2012: RSL claimed the Cup for the sixth straight time with a 6-0 point advantage after two 2-0 home wins. Click here to watch July 21st highlights.

April 7: RSL 2-COL 0

July 21: RSL 2-COL 0

Aug. 4: ?

Series Winner: Real Salt Lake