SANDY — While the recent form of both sides might have rubbed some of the luster off of today’s potentially-decisive Rocky Mountain Cup showdown between Real Salt Lake and rival Colorado, don’t expect the atmosphere to be any less intense with both teams looking for answers at the moment.
Salt Lake and the Rapids will meet for the second time tonight at Rio Tinto Stadium, with Real having a chance to clinch the Rocky Mountain Cup for a sixth consecutive year if it can prevail in its 8 p.m. kickoff match against Colorado.
RSL (11-7-3, 36 points) enters the match after a disastrous 90 minutes in the Bay Area last week, which saw it allow five goals and midfielder Kyle Beckerman sent off in the 57th minute. Salt Lake is 1-4-1 in its last six matches, although it did decisively defeat Portland in its last home appearance. Despite its recent struggles, Salt Lake still sits in second place in the Western Conference, five points clear of Seattle and nine points ahead of fifth-place Los Angeles.
Colorado (7-12-1, 22 points) currently sits in seventh place in the west, trailing Vancouver by nine points it the battle for the final playoff berth out of the conference. The Rapids have lost four straight and have just one win in their past seven outings.
Salt Lake will be without Beckerman, due to his sending off last weekend, with Yordany Alvarez likely to get the call in the defensive half of the midfield.
RSL is on a seven-match unbeaten run against its Front Range rivals, having not lost to Colorado since May 2, 2009.
Fireworks will follow the match in honor of RSL’s annual Pioneer Day celebration.