The Colorado Rapids played host to Real Salt Lake in the first match of the 2017 Rocky Mountain Cup series. While the Claret-and-Cobalt looked to retain the mantel of best club in the Mountain West, the Rapids looked to ice the visitors’ hope early relying on home-field advantage.
The competitors traded early half-chances until the Rapids got the breakthrough in the 29th minute. Marlon Hairston found himself in the wide area after a long sprint down the pitch and whipped the ball in across the face of the RSL goal. The onrushing Kevin Doyle split the defenders and headed the ball towards the far post and past Nick Rimando.
RSL nearly leveled the match in the 43rd minute on a corner kick. Albert Rusnak’s cross found Chris Schuler unmarked near the penalty spot. The center-back’s attempt was way off-target but somehow managed to find its way to Yura Movsisyan who once again headed the ball only to strike the wrong side of the upright.
While RSL entered halftime a goal down, the club maintained 62 percent of possession and looked to be the more dangerous of the two sides offensively during the first half.
Unable to break the deep lying Colorado, Mike Petke changed things up with the Luis Silva substitution. Although it did not make an immediate impact, having an additional man in the attack ultimately overloaded the attack and led to Colorado conceding a penalty in the 84th minute.
Off another Rusnak corner, Wingert let off a volley that struck the outreached arm of Jared Watts, who did not even argue the call. Movsisyan stepped up and converted to tie the game.
Minutes later, Brooks Lennon completed the comeback by scoring his first RSL (MLS) goal and the match winner. The youngster dribbled through the Colorado midfield to open up some space about 30 yards out. With no one marking him, Lennon struck a holler and found the back of the net.
While most of the match was played with the Rapids leading 0-1, Real managed to claw their way back into the match in the waning minutes to take the early Rocky Mountain Cup lead, setting up the even larger away-goal advantage.
Real Salt Lake Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Nick Rimando; Danilo Acosta, Chris Wingert, Chris Schuler, Demar Phillips; Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland (Luis Silva - 64’); Brooks Lennon, Albert Rusnak (Omar Holness - 90’+3’), Sebastian Suacedo (Ricardo Velazco - 72’); Yura Movsisyan
Colorado Rapids Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Zach MacMath; Eric Miller, Kortne Ford, Jared Watts, Mekeil Williams; Micheal Azira, Bismark Boateng (Mohammed Saeid - 32’); Marlon Hairston (Joshua Gatt - 80’), Dillon Powers, Dominique Badji (Bobby Burling - 86’); Kevin Doyle
29’ - Doyle (Hairston)
85’ - Movsysian (PK)
88’ - Lennon (Phillips)
52’ - Wingert (YC) - RSL
84’ - Mekeil Williams (YC) - COL
85’ - Watts (RC) - COL