SANDY -- After a strong showing on the road during the first two weekends of the season, Real Salt Lake at last returns home to face its Rocky Mountain rivals.
Salt Lake (1-1-0) and Colorado (0-2-0) tangle today at 4 p.m. at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first of three clashes to determine this season's iteration of the Rocky Mountain Cup. The match will be televised live on KTVX.
Real has won the past six Rocky Mountain Cups, posting a 7-3-5 mark in the series since first claiming the trophy between the two sides in 2007. The all-time series is squared up at 9-9-7, although Colorado did win the last meeting between the two teams on Aug. 4, 2012 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
That match came just four days after Real returned from Costa Rica from a CONCACAF Champions League match against Herediano, with the Cup already wrapped up at Rio Tinto earlier in the season.
Salt Lake, which has turned in two quality road performances -- including a 1-0 win at defending Supporter's Shield winner San Jose, will be minus the services of outside defender Abdoulie Mansally for tonight's match. Mansally, who recently decided to use his given name after going by Kenny during his first six years in Major League Soccer, was suspended by the league earlier this week for violent conduct after the MLS dsciplinary committee determined that he used his head to strike D.C. United midfielder Perry Kitchen during the second half of last Saturday's 1-0 loss in Washington D.C.
Forward Alvaro Saborio was also disciplined by the league, being fined an undisclosed amount for aggravated dissent toward the referee late in the match.
With two other First Choice defenders already out due to injury, midfielder Lovel Palmer is penciled in as the probable replacement for Mansally.
In addition to the festivities normally associated with its first home match of the season, Real Salt Lake will also honor goalkeeper Nick Rimando prior to the match. Rimando became just the second goalkeeper in MLS history to record 100 career shutouts when RSL blanked San Jose 2-0 in its season opener on March 3.