Real Salt Lake secured the 2021 Rocky Mountain Cup in nail-biting fashion, keeping a dangerous Colorado Rapids team at bay in a 3-1 victory.
Damir Kreilach netted the opener in classic fashion, scoring a headed goal in the 13th minute for his 14th of the year — and the provider is exactly who you’d expect, with Aaron Herrera grabbing his 10th assist of 2021.
Kreilach’s goal marked his fifth consecutive with one, dating back to RSL’s 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders. It marked a new record for consecutive games with a goal, putting him over Luis Silva, Jeff Cunningham and Alvaro Saborio, each of whom had four consecutive goal-scoring games.
The first half continued with RSL controlling possession but conceding the greater share of chances, with the Rapids finding success in the middle of the field.
Rubio Rubin doubled RSL’s lead in the 57th minute with a neat finish past Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough, putting the finishing touch on a delightfully crafted Damir Kreilach pass. It was Rubin’s eighth goal of the 2021 campaign and Kreilach’s seventh assist.
RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa had a scary moment early in the second half, leaping over standing Rapids forward Diego Rubio and landing on his head. After a tentative minute of medical attention, Ochoa sat
The Rapids continued threatening through the second half, with the 63rd minute seeing RSL concede off the foot of Rapids midfielder Younes Namli. The shot, taken from deep, had a bit of a deflection from Damir Kreilach, and it did go to video replay — but unfortunately for Real Salt Lake, the goal stood.
That goal came almost immediately after Colorado hit the post and the crossbar, and they also forced David Ochoa into some excellent work in goal — it was nervy stuff and a reminder that RSL thrives when they’re not living on the edge, allowing chance after chance to emerge.
Colorado continued threatening, with RSL being handed a speedy lifeline: Anderson Julio, who stretched Colorado’s beleaguered defense, giving RSL more room to operate in the attack. Julio had an opportunity to push RSL’s lead back to two in the second minute of stoppage time after he beat Yarbrough, but some rapid response from Colorado led to a shot cleared off the goal line.
The win was finally made secure deep in six minutes of stoppage time, with Anderson Julio putting one of his famous runs to work before slotting through Yarbrough’s legs, capitalizing on disastrous Colorado defending.