Rimando, Howard Square Off One Last Time In Rocky Mountain Cup Showdown
SANDY, Utah – Real Salt Lake prepare to host the Colorado Rapids and hopes to take home their 11th Rocky Mountain Cup. RSL are coming off a disapointing 2-0 loss to LAFC while the Rapids are coming off a 2-2 draw away from home against the Houston Dynamo.
The Rapids got off to the worst start in Major League Soccer history earlier this season as it took them 11 games to pick up their first win. Over the 11 game stretch, Colorado lost nine times and drew only twice.
The Rocky Mountain Cup was started in 2005, during the inaugural RSL season. Since then, RSL have held the cup 10 times while Colorado have only won on 4 occasions.
It will be a historical match for both teams, as it will be the last time star goalkeepers Nick Rimando and Tim Howard go head to head against each other. Both Rimando and Howard have made it public that the 2019 MLS season will be there last and that they will retire at the conclusion of the season.
May 11, 2019: COL 2-3 RSL @ Dick’s Sporting Good Park
Aug 25, 2018: COL 0-6 RSL @ Dick’s Sporting Good Park
Jul 21, 2018: RSL 2-2 COL @ Rio Tinto Stadium
Apr 21, 2018: RSL 3-0 COL @ Rio Tinto Stadium
Oct 15, 2017: COL 1-0 RSL @ Dick’s Sporting Good Park
History would suggest that RSL have the advantage over the Colorado Rapids. Over the past five encounters RSL have beaten their rivals three times. Last year’s 6-0 thrashing was the largest margin of victory for the Claret and Cobalt.
Get To Know The Rapids
Conor Casey is currently acting as interim manager as former head coach Anthony Hudson was relieved of his duties following his post game comments on May 1st where he was quoted saying:
“We are fighting at the bottom with a bottom group of players and we have to find a way to pick up results whilst also being a team that tries to play a certain way. And we just have to find that balance.
The only way it’s going to be a quick fix is if you wave a magic wand at it and throw lots of money at it. Clearly we’re not doing that. I’ll go back to this: Every single game we go into, whether it’s Nani, whether it’s [Wayne] Rooney, whether it’s [Lucho] Acosta — every single week there are players in this league making a difference and the gap in quality is huge …
There are teams with a lot more quality than us. And that’s what we’re competing against. And no one talks about it.”
Casey has been in charge of the past 18 Rapid games where he has won 7, drawn 5 and lost 6 times.
Much like RSL, Casey operates in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The slow start to the season has hurt the Rapids. They currently sit tied for last place in the Western Conference with 27 points. However, the talent on the roster for the Rapids does not align with their Western Conference standing.
Headlined by a pair of star strikers, both Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio have been very good for the Rapids this season. Kamara leads the team in goals with 11 while Rubio sits slightly behind him with 9 goals. Rubio also has three assists on the season.
Their midfield is talented as well, with 26 year old Englishmen Jack Price the center piece. Price leads the team in assists with eight and is a dangerous player when he finds the football. Price has great vision and can quickly move the football from the midfield into the attacking third. RSL will need to be wary of him if they are going to beat the Rapids for the 11th time in 13 years.
RSL Club Update
Despite the disapointing 2-0 loss to league leaders LAFC last Saturday evening, Nedum Onuoha was rewarded with MLS Team Of The Week honors. The center back blocked a number of shots and was terrific in limiting the dynamic attack of LAFC.
RSL enters the Rocky Mountain Cup showdown having 10 different players already notching goals for the club in 2019. The team is led by Sam Johnson and Albert Rusnak who have nine goals apiece, Rusnak has also contributed four assists on the season.
Tony Beltran remains on the injured list and has been unavailable for a year and a half. While the rest of the team is healthy and is available for selection.
This weeks home game will end a three game home stretch for RSL where they have been able to coast up the Western Conference and currently sit in a tie for 4th. If Minnesota United lose to Atlanta United, the LA Galaxy lose to LAFC and RSL are able to beat the Rapids, RSL will find themselves in lone second place in the West.
Interim manager Freddy Juarez will be vying for his fourth win since taking over the head coaching duties. Juarez only loss came last weekend to LAFC.
Real Salt Lake takes on the Colorado Rapids with kick-off At Rio Tinto Stadium scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday. The match can be streamed live on the KSL TV app and KSLSports.com.
Colorado are in 11th position in the Western Conference and are coming off a 2-2 away draw against the Houston Dynamo.
Saturday night’s match is also “KSL Night”. KSLSports.com host Tom Hackett will be flipping the coin prior to the game.
KSLSports.com in collaboration with Real Salt Lake has launched a new podcast, The RSL Lion’s Den. It is the official Real Salt Lake podcast for all your club news and updates. Tom Hackett, Spencer Warne and RSL’s Director of PR, Matt Gaschk break down the games and discuss important club matters.
To listen to The Lion’s Den, click here. It is available on iTunes, Google Play or wherever podcasts are found. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe!