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

RSL take on the Rapids in the first game of a two-match Rocky Mountain Cup series

Lucas Muller | RSL Soapbox

Real Salt Lake are coming off their first loss of the season. The team has been plagued with injuries and it’s only getting worse. They’re taking on the Colorado Rapids today, who have had the exact same results as RSL, only in reverse (they started with a loss, won two, then drew last weekend). As RSL looks to bring up young guys, the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup is on the line in Colorado.

The Pierres and Extreme Hardship

RSL currently have 10 players on their injury report. The only time in recent memory when more players were on that report was in 2018 when 11 players were listed, but in those days there was a “probable” category that a few of the current players would likely be on.

Enter the extreme hardship rule. Since RSL has so many players out, they are allowed to sign new players. RSL has selected Bobby Pierre and Pierre Reedy from the Monarchs. Bobby Pierre is a former RSL Academy defender who signed with the Monarchs after a short stint overseas. Pierre Reedy is a midfielder who recently joined the Monarchs after playing at Penn State. They certainly won’t be at the level of the players they’re replacing, but it’s a good chance for them to prove their worth, even as bench players.

The recently injured

Damir Kreilach and Rubio Rubin have exited the injury list, but it may be too early for them both to start. Sergio Cordova should start in the center forward spot since Bobby Wood is listed as out. With Menendez now injured as well, Justin Meram should resume his position on the left after having just returned from International duty. Chang will be on the right wing. The biggest lineup question is around Dami. If he’s able to start, that likely pushes Everton out with Ruiz and Caldwell in the middle.

Pablo

RSL head coach Pablo Mastroeni is all about team philosophy and culture. He is a coach the players love playing for. Before taking over after the departure of Freddy Juarez, he was brought in to help build the locker room culture. Today his team lines up against the Colorado Rapids, which will always be a point of interest with Pablo, who was a long time Rapids player and coach. Given the hardship of injury, can his leadership at RSL help carry the team tonight?

Injury report

Out: Ochoa (right quad), Herrera (left calf), Farnsworth (right ankle), Glad (hamstring), Holt (left foot), Kappelhof (left calf), Besler (nose), Menendez (adductor), Wood (hamstring)

Questionable: Löffelsend (hamstring)

Predicted lineup