Real Salt Lake Suffers Deflating Rivalry Loss To Colorado Rapids

Mar 9, 2024, 9:52 PM

emeka eneli goal rsl...

Real Salt Lake teammates celebrate the first goal of Emeka Eneli's first MLS goal at America First Field in Sandy, Utah, on Saturday, March 9.

SANDY, Utah – The Rapids didn’t flinch when Real Salt Lake scored an early goal, storming back to earn three points on the road in a 2-1 RSL loss. It was the first home loss against Colorado since 2020.

Real Salt Lake hosted its second consecutive home match, welcoming in the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, March 9.

RELATED: Real Salt Lake’s Pablo Ruiz Out For Season With Injury

Andrés Gómez assisted Emeka Eneli for the only goal.

Rafael Navarro and Cole Bassett scored for Colorado.

First Half

Gavin Beavers started in goal for RSL after Zac MacMath posted 15 saves and allowed three goals, starting the season’s first three matches.

Real had a chance in the opening minutes, but the Rapids defense stepped up, blocking the first goal-scoring chance for either squad.

RELATED: Gómez Earns Team Of Week Honors Behind Stellar Snow Game

An injury in the seventh minute forced Connor Ronan from the game. Former RSL player Jasper Löeffelsend entered as the first substitution of the match.

Colorado’s first challenge of the match came in the 19th minute when a long run forced Beavers to make a diving deflection on a shot from Omir Fernandez. The blast glanced harmlessly off the post to keep the game scoreless.

Minutes later, Andres Gomez assisted Emeka Eneli’s first MLS goal when he mis-struck his attack. Eneli trailed the play and was in perfect position to find the back of the net.

RELATED: Emeka Eneli’s First Goal Gives Real Salt Lake Early Lead

Bode Hidalgo received the first card of the match in the 41st minute after a questionable foul.

Eneli felt how the other half lived minutes later when he was whistled for a handball in the box. After a review to confirm the penalty, Rafael Navarro wrong-footed Beavers before beating the diving keeper to knot the contest on 1-1.

Second Half

The Claret & Cobalt couldn’t complete the first goal-scoring chance of the second half when a cross through the six-yard box from Andrés Gómez came up empty in the 52nd minute.

RELATED: RSL Picks Up Shutout Win In Home Opener Against LAFC

Both teams made long runs in the 64th minute but came up empty thanks to good transition defense from RSL and an offside call on Gomez.

Real Salt Lake conceded the second Rapids goal on a long 70th-minute run. Cole Bassett found a deflection at his feet and beat Beavers for a 2-1 lead.

17-year-old Fidel Barajas entered in the 81st minute, making his third appearance of the season.

Almost immediately, Colorado had a chance to put a stranglehold on the lead, but a diving stop from Beavers kept the deficit at one goal.

Brayan Vera picked a yellow card in the 86th minute.

Real Salt Lake’s frustration began to show during stoppage time when Diego Luna was carded for a bad foul.

Colorado held on through more than six minutes of stoppage time for the 2-1 win.

Follow Real Salt Lake With KSL Sports

Real Salt Lake doesn’t play until Saturday, March 23, when they travel to the great white North. RSL takes on the Vancouver Whitecaps with first kick at 5:30 p.m. MT.

All Major League Soccer games are broadcasted on Apple TV with MLS Season Pass.

All Real Salt Lake English-language radio coverage for the 2024 season and beyond will be carried on various KSL radio signals. KSL Sports Zone (97.5 FM/1280 AM) and KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM / 1160 AM) are both stations under the Bonneville International umbrella.

For more Real Salt Lake coverage and analysis, subscribe to The RSL Show and follow them on Instagram. 

You can find KSL Sports coverage of Real Salt Lake here.

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Brian Preece is a insider covering the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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Real Salt Lake Suffers Deflating Rivalry Loss To Colorado Rapids