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

More questions than answers ahead of rivalry match

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Real Salt Lake Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

After a lackluster 3-2 loss to Minnesota United, Real Salt Lake will look to get back on the horse today against Rocky Mountain rivals Colorado Rapids — but with injuries and suspensions piling up, there’s just a touch of uncertainty in play.

Center backs

Justen Glad is likely still out with a hamstring issue sustained last week, which is a significant blow for the home side. Glad’s been at the center of many of the good things RSL has been doing, with his defensive partnership with Marcelo Silva being a particular generator of defensive solidity.

Without Glad against Minnesota, RSL struggled. Here’s just one example of the team lacking a defensive understanding.

There certainly has been more time for Marcelo Silva and Johan Kappelhof to form a good understanding, and they’ll need one. Perhaps most importantly, they’ll need to operate in a way that doesn’t rely on a center back with excellent recovery speed.

The same old song

I’m going to ask a question we’ve all been asking: Where will the goals come from? Two of RSL’s three joint-leading goal scorers are out in Glad and Bobby Wood, with the latter a long way out. Will they come from Sergio Cordova? Anderson Julio? Jefferson Savarino? Each of those are options, but none are week-in, week-out scorers, best evidenced by the fact that they haven’t been doing that. It would be useful for Rubio Rubin to step back to his goalscoring ways, but we haven’t seen that since Freddy Juarez was coach in early 2021.

That’s entertainment

MLS has seen its share of barnburners already this weekend, with Philadelphia Union putting a shocking seven past D.C. United, including five in the first half, in a 7-0 win, and LAFC bested LA Galaxy 3-2 in a scintillating match with a lot of back-and-forth action. RSL is certainly capable of producing that level of entertainment (although on the bad end of the blowout, which I guess is generous to neutrals but awfully rude to fans) — will we see a match to remember? Both sides are firmly in the bottom third of the league in goals scored, and they’re both in the top half in goals conceded. We might be as likely to see a tense 0-0 draw as we are to see a 5-4 thriller.

RSL availability report

Out: Zack Farnsworth (right ankle), Damir Kreilach (back), Bobby Wood (abductor)

Questionable: Bret Halsey (ankle)

Probable: Justen Glad (hamstring)

Suspension: Erik Holt (Disciplinary Committee decision following RSL vs. Minnesota)

On assignment with Real Monarchs: Jeff Dewsnup, Chris Garcia, Bode “Davis” Hidalgo, Gavin Beavers, Julio Benitez, Jude Wellings, Axel Kei, Jaziel Orozco