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Match preview: Real Salt Lake looks to continue dominating ways over Colorado Rapids

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The Rapids, who haven’t won in Utah since 2007, travel to Sandy to take on RSL for the third time this season hoping to get their first win in their last eight.

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Colorado Rapids Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake plays the second of four straight home matches as the Colorado Rapids come to town looking for a better result than their last meeting.

Most definitely still fresh in their minds, the Rapids took a beating the last time they met as RSL cruised to an easy 4-1 victory thanks to goals from Damir Kreilach, Maikel Chang, Corey Baird, and Justin Meram. In fact, Colorado didn’t technically score anything as their lone goal in the 38th minute was an own goal accredited to Aaron Herrera.

Add that to the scoreline of the previous matchup, and RSL has outscored the Rapids 6-1 in their last two meetings. With the way the home side took care of western conference giants LAFC on Wednesday, I don’t think anybody would be shocked if this ended up in another steamroll victory for RSL.

Real Salt Lake

Record: 3-2-5 (14 points)
Table: 7th place (west)
Points per game: 1.40
Most goals: Damir Kreilach (5)
Most assists: Corey Baird (4)
Clean sheets: 4
Form: WDDLW

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a few days makes, as Real Salt Lake came home from a devastating 4-0 loss on the road to Minnesota and turned it into the most impressive performance of the season so far as they rolled over LAFC by a score of 3-0. They were firing on all cylinders as Damir Kreilach opened the scoring, followed by goals from Justin Meram and Albert Rusnak as they cemented their first-ever regular season win against the black-and-gold.

“I think those guys don’t like to play against Damir. They leave him open all the time in the box,” RSL assistant coach Tyrone Marshall commented in a post-game interview. “They don’t realize he’s a goalscorer. Damir is a classy player. He has a knack for finding those free spots in the box.”

Kreilach currently leads the team in goals scored on the season with five goals in just 10 games. That’s a pretty impressive attack rate for a guy who doesn’t always start as a forward.

Andrew Putna also had himself a fantastic game, which was a stark contrast from what we saw from Zac MacMath a few days prior in Minnesota. Putna logged an impressive eight saves on the evening as LAFC sent in 19 shots overall toward RSL’s goal. If he can keep up this form, you can bet he’ll keep getting chances to play until the starting spot is all but his.

Absences

OUT: Tate Schmitt (knee)

Projected Lineup

Putna; Herrera, Glad, Onuoha, Toia; Beckerman, Kreilach; Chang, Rusnak, Meram; Baird

Colorado Rapids

Record: 2-3-4 (10 points)
Table: 10th place (west)
Points per game: 1.11
Most goals: Kei Kamara (3), Jonathan Lewis (3)
Most assists: Nicolas Benezet (3)
Clean sheets: 0
Form: DLDDD

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Colorado Rapids Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Still searching for their first win since March 7th, Robin Fraser’s side will hope to shake off some of their poor performances and come out with a strong showing at Rio Tinto Stadium. They’re winless in their last seven, but they’re coming off a very late dramatic draw with the Houston Dynamo as Lalas Abubakar got the equalizer in the dying seconds of stoppage time, earning the Rapids a point at home.

Colorado hasn’t ever won at Rio Tinto Stadium, and their last win in Utah came in May of 2007 when RSL was still calling Rice-Eccles Stadium their home. That’s a giant mountain to overcome for the team from the opposite side of the Rockies, as history doesn’t bode well and their current form doesn’t do them any favors, either.

Luckily for Colorado, they’re only missing one player to injury — defender Kortne Ford. They’ll have the rest of their squad available, and hope that Kei Kamara or one of their other attackers can end up finding the back of the net. They’ve only managed to score 12 goals this season while letting in 16, good for the third-worst goal differential in the Western Conference.

Absences

OUT: Kortne Ford (knee)

Projected Lineup

Yarbrough; Rosenberry, Abubakar, Trusty, Vines; Warner, Acosta; Namli, Rubio, Lewis; Kamara


Match info

When: Saturday, September 12, 2020, 7:30PM MT

Where: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT

Weather: 76 degrees, clear

Broadcast: KMYU, KSL TV app (streaming), ESPN+ (streaming), ESPN700 (radio)