With just a few short weeks having passed since their last meeting, Real Salt Lake and rival Colorado are set to tangle for Round 2 of this season's itineration of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
RSL and the Rapids will kick off at 5:30 p.m. today in a nationally-televised NBC Sports Network broadcast from Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
While the all-time series between the two sides on opposite sides of the Rockies has been hotly contested (9-9-8), the recent history of the Rocky Mountain Cup has not. Salt Lake has won the RMC for six consecutive seasons, and could put itself in prime position to claim a seventh with a road win in this evening's match.
RSL and Colorado met on March 16 at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first of the three-leg series, with the teams coming away with a 1-1 draw after a late goal from Alvaro Saborio negated a first-half Colorado lead. Saborio, however, is one of nine Real players either listed as questionable or out for the match against the Rapids. Forward Robbie Findley, who scored one of RSL's two goals in last weekend's win over Seattle, is out with a left adductor strain, potentially leaving RSL extremely thin up top.
Rookie forward Devon Sandoval, a second-round pick out of New Mexico, had an extremely solid outing against the Sounders last week and drew repeated praise from his coaches and teammates.
"Devon gave us exactly what he has been giving us now for the past two months. He just covers so much ground and works so hard and battles for every single ball," RSL boss Jason Kreis said of Sandoval after the win over the Sounders. "To have a young player basically showing the rest by example what Real Salt Lake means to him, and what it means, what this opportunity means for him, what it means to get a chance to play professional soccer I think is saying a lot; so I hope that all the guys took notice."
While Real is coming into tonight's match on a positive note with a 2-2-1 record after defeating Seattle 2-1 last weekend, Colorado remains winless on the year at 0-3-2. The Rapids kissed off a 2-0 lead against Portland last weekend at home, settling for a 2-2 draw against the Timbers.