Looking for a season-sweep of its Rocky Mountain Cup rival, Real Salt Lake takes a quick bounce to the Front Range tonight.
Winners of two straight Major League Soccer contests, and three of its last four in league play, Salt Lake aims to keep that momentum moving forward and leapfrog idle San Jose back to the top of the league table when it takes on Colorado tonight at 7 p.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
Tonight's contest will be a battle of two sides seemingly headed in opposite directions.
While RSL (13-7-3, 42 points) is righting the ship after a four-match winless streak and is now 3-1-1 in its last five outings, Colorado has dropped six consecutive matches -- a franchise record -- and is just 1-8 in its last nine to fall to 7-14-1. The Rapids are 5-5-51 at home, where they've gained 16 of their 22 points.
Real is 4-4-2, gaining 14 points with a minus-5 goal differential on the road.
"Those last couple games where we had a rough spell, I don't think we were so worried about the losses; it was about how we lost them," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando. "I think we turned the page and left that behind us and now we're just looking forward and knowing what we're capable of and going out there and winning against some of these teams that we're losing against."
Salt Lake will, however, not be entering tonight's match at full strength, as central defender Jamison Olave has been ruled out for at least four weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during Tuesday's 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League loss in Costa Rica.
Kwame Watson-Siriboe will likely get the start in RSL's central defense until Olave returns from injury, as Chris Schuler is still unavailable as he recovers from a stress-related foot injury suffered in April.
Real holds a 9-8-7 series advantage against Colorado and holds an eight-match unbeaten streak in the series dating back to May 2009. Salt Lake is 2-0 vs. Colorado this year, defeating the Rapids 2-0 on April 7 and 2-0 on July 28. Both of the previous matches, which secured this year's Rocky Mountain Cup for RSL, were played at Rio Tinto Stadium.