Real Salt Lake will welcome their Colorado based rival to Rio Tinto Saturday night, eager to take a step in the right direction to bring back the Rocky Mountain cup. The Colorado Rapids were able to claim the cup last season on goal difference, to make the all time series 5-4 in favor of RSL. But not only are these two teams close in the all time series, Colorado sits right behind Real by a point in this season's league table.
Between the sticks for Colorado will be 24 year old Zac MacMath. The seemingly young net minder has plenty of experience after being drafted in 2011 by the Philadelphia Union. He would go on to make over 100 appearances before being loaned out to Colorado to start the 2015 campaign. With the upcoming arrival of storied United States national team number one in Tim Howard, MacMath will be looking to either create buzz to find a starting job elsewhere, or be preparing to be Howard's understudy.
The Rapids feature two towering center backs in the middle of their defense in Axel Sjöberg and Bobby Burling. Standing at 6'7 and 6'4 respectively, these two will be handful to deal with on set pieces and winning the ball aerially in the center of the park. Marc Burch and Eric Miller will likely support them on the flanks of the back line.
The Rapids typically feature a five man midfield with three central players and two wingers. The danger men to look out for will be Marco Pappa and Shkëlzen Gashi in the wide positions. Pappa will look to see a lot of the ball and create opportunities for his team as he has been involved in all Rapids goals this season (one goal, two assists). The Guatemalan is no stranger to scoring at Rio Tinto either, as he showed in 2011 with his hat trick against Real Salt Lake with Chicago. Gashi will also look to bring his Champions league level experience with FC Basel to an increasingly competitive and ambitious Rapids team. Dillon Powers, Sam Cronin and Michael Azira will look to tidy up any attacks in the midfield.
The lone man up front will probably be 25 year old Argentine Luis Solignac. After notching his first goal of the season last week against Toronto, Solignac will be looking to capitalize on more service from Pappa and Gashi. Solignac is the first choice forward until DP Kevin Doyle returns from injury. Dominique Badji or Conor Doyle will likely replace or play along side him in a potential cameo appearance depending on the scenario.