Match Preview: Return of the rivalry; Schuler vital; player rotation


Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids: A match made in heaven? Maybe not. But now's as good a time as any to celebrate the rivalry we've got, and if we can do it with a win, why, that would be just right.

After surrendering the Rocky Mountain Cup last year (tragically and frustratingly, I might add), we'll want to get off on the right foot today. (Or the left foot, depending on the player in question.) How might we do that, though? Surely it's not as simple as just doing it.

To find a positive result against Colorado Rapids, we have to look back to July 2012. That's not optimal, and perhaps we should correct that today.

One player that will be key in our efforts: Chris Schuler. Strangely, his only appearances against Colorado came at the head of 2013, and he wasn't great. In fact, one might have described his start to last season as "error-prone," but since his return from injury, he's been anything but.

We missed him last week — but we also did well with Aaron Maund, so I don't mean to be all doom-and-gloomy about last week (there's literally no reason to be, anyway.) But this sort of match — where we'll be attacking frequently but will need to worry about fast attacking outlets getting in the way of success — is one where Schuler should be vital.

He leads Real Salt Lake in interceptions per 90 minutes with 3.43; these come not in the midfield but at the back, stepping to cut out through balls and passes along the face of the attack. He'll be just as important at cutting out set piece opportunities — another issue we'll almost certainly have to face against the Rapids.

Schuler should be back in the lineup, and this gives us plenty of reason to hope.

Also likely to return to consideration: Luis Gil, who has been absent through injury. He's still "probable" in club-produced injury reports, but it would be surprising if he doesn't make the bench. Devon Sandoval, Jeff Attinella, and Cole Grossman are all likely to get starting minutes, with their positional counterparts off to some little thing called the World Cup.

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