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What we’re watching in Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids

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Real Salt Lake travel to Colorado in hopes of winning the Rocky Mountain Cup

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Salt Lake face their oldest foes, the Colorado Rapids, with the Rocky Mountain Cup on the line. RSL very clearly lost to the Rapids in a 2-2 draw at Rio Tinto stadium a few months back. Real had looked the dominating force, going up 2-0 before a lightning delay put the game on hold. The Rapids came out swinging and won a much-needed point on the road. The question is if RSL can fix what the Rapids figured out, and thus secure the Rocky Mountain Cup?

Albert Rusnak

When Real faced Houston last Saturday, the team was not finishing their many chances. In a halftime interview, a frustrated Albert Rusnak made it clear the team needed to do better. And in the 93rd minute, Rusnak took control and won RSL a point on the road. It wasn’t over yet, though. Bofo Saucedo won a PK which Albert then converted, winning RSL’s second game on the road this season. That fight from Rusnak is exactly what we need to see from the players. If Rusnak can finish, he needs to be put in a position to do so. After the success we saw from him last week, it will be interesting to see how Petke plays him in this match.

Center Backs

Marcelo Silva is set to miss this match due to injury. Justen Glad hasn’t had a lights-out season but has been an above average MLS center back, and the Silva/Glad partnership is a strong one. David Horst is injured as well, and likely won’t return this season. Shawn Barry has seen very little time at center back, as Mike Petke has elected to start Nick Besler in that position. Besler has been underwhelming at this spot. Either Besler needs to step up his game, or I would like to see Barry get some time. The issue is compounded by RSL’s number 1, Nick Rimando, being injured. Putna has played far above what’s expected by a fourth string keeper, but Rimando’s command of the backline is hard to emulate. Who starts along side Justen Glad?

The Cup

Several players and the head coach have stated the importance they feel around winning the Rocky Mountain Cup. The infamous lightning game is a definite low point this year. The Cup should have been won by now. RSL is in a good position. Even if RSL loses, they will retain the Cup as long as the loss is by fewer than 4 goals. Will the team show the fighting spirit we saw against Houston?

Injury Report

OUT:

Beltran (knee 10/15/17)

Allen (knee 6/16/17)

Horwath (achilles 4/18)

Mulholland (back 5/2)

Lopez-Espin (knee 6/13)

Horst (achilles 6/26)

Sparrow (kne e 7/2)

QUESTIONABLE:

Marcelo Silva (ankle 8/14)

Rimando (hamstring 8/15)

Predicted Line Up

Putna

Lennon, Glad, Besler, Acosta

Beckerman, Kreilach

Savarino, Rusnak, Plata

Baird