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

RSL finish up their busy week with a Rocky Mountain Cup clash in Commerce City

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

It’s been another busy week for Real Salt Lake. They’ve won their last two games, having faced Austin FC and the Houston Dynamo. Both result have been good, though the performances leave room for improvement. The Colorado Rapids have been a good team this season. They’re 4th in the west and are averaging 1.89 points per game (RSL is at 1.42). With a win, RSL can recapture the Rocky Mountain Cup.

Anderson Julio

Anderson Julio only played about 10 minutes in RSL’s win over the Dynamo on Wednesday, but without him, RSL drops 2 points (which would drop them a few places in the standings). It seems like every season there is one player who is on the outside of the starting XI who you could expect to be there. This season Julio seems to be that guy. He has 4 goals this season, which puts him level with Rusnak, though none of Anderson’s goals are penalties. His goal earlier this week should have earned him more minutes in this game and how he uses those minutes will be key to RSL’s success.

The midfield

RSL’s midfield, particularly the 6 and 8, have been a weakness for the team. That isn’t to say the defensive and central midfielders are terrible, but they have been the weak link in RSL’s chain. Kreilach is much less effective playing deep than he is as an attacker. Ruiz’s early season confidence has waned. Everton and Belser are okay but each has their own issues. Unlike the attack, there’s not a lot of depth here and often players are being asking to play above their level in order for the team to find success. There’s no easy fix, outside a new signing, so each player has to be at their best in order for RSL to get a result.

Improved substitutions

The subs against the Dynamo were odd, but proved effective. We had the usual Rubin for Wood (57th minute), then Besler and Ruiz for Menendez and Everton in the 68th. Ruiz for Everton makes sense, but replacing Jonny with Nick is odd, especially given that Besler ends up playing as a CB. The last set, Chang for Datkovic and Julio for Meram, allowed RSL to push for the win. Those last two really changed the game as RSL felt a step behind Houston until they joined. It proved effective on Wednesday, but refreshing the wings sooner could give the team a better opportunity to control the game. With it being the last game in a three game stretch, expect to see some heavy rotation from Wednesday.

Injury report

Out: Zack Farnsworth, Andrew Brody, David Ochoa, Jeizon Ramirez

Predicted lineup