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

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Real Salt Lake head to Colorado to take on a struggling Rapids team in the first Rocky Mountain Cup game of the season

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Last week’s loss to the Timbers still stings. Sam Johnson had some strong words for his teammates after, and Petke and the team seemed to have worked through the issue. The team is stilling on a mere ten points from ten games. It could be worse, and it is worse, if you are the Colorado Rapids. The Rapids are sitting on two points from ten games, which means they’re averaging 0.2 points per game. This week they fired Anthony Hudson as their head coach and Conor Casey has taken over as the interim manager. Will the removal of Hudson give the team any kind of new manager bounce?

Sam Johnson & speed of play

Both Sam Johnson and Mike Petke said they felt the speed of play was too slow against Portland. Johnson stated that his teammates don’t trust him and don’t play him the ball. In the three shots on goal Johnson has had this season, he’s scored three goals. You can see him making runs, but not getting a lot of service when he makes those runs. A center forward needs to be who you’re trying to funnel the ball to, and we’re not seeing a lot of that. Will his words cause any change from the players around him? If Petke said they played slow, how will they come out against the Rapids? Look to see if Sam is getting service and if the whole team is looking forward more.

Clearing the box

Both of Portland’s goals came from an inability to clear the ball effectively in the box. To the Timbers credit, they did a good job of striking after it may have felt the chance had gone, but these are moments where RSL is better than what they showed. On the first goal, Punta does well to block a shot, but sends it right back to Blanco, who doesn’t squander his second chance. The final goal of the game comes from a shot that Glad does well to block, and it just happens to fall at the feet of one Diego Valeri, who puts it away.

While Colorado is a significantly worse team than the Timbers, but how Real Salt Lake defend, particularly against those rebounds, could be all the difference.

The biggest tragedy in recent memory

There’s a lot wrong in the world today, I won’t go into specifics but if you look at current events, my guess is you can find a few terrible things. As bad as things may be, the fact the Real Salt Lake will never get to beat Benny Feilhaber as a Colorado Rapids player is a major tragedy. They’ve beat him in the playoffs with LAFC, plus numerous times over the years with Sporting Kansas City, but if RSL walk away with a win, there will always be some sadness that Benny couldn’t experience that.

Injury Report

OUT:

Allen (knee 6/16/17; Season

Ending)

Beltran (knee 3/15/19)

Beckerman (hamstring 5/2/19)

QUESTIONABLE:

Holt (ankle; 3/30/19)

Luiz (knee; 4/13/19)

Rimando (knee; 4/15/19)

Predicted Lineup