Real Salt Lake-Rapids Preview
Last month, a late goal from Alvaro Saborio kept Real Salt Lake unbeaten at home for a ninth straight meeting with the Colorado Rapids.
Visits to Colorado haven't been nearly that productive.
WIth Javier Morales potentially back in the lineup, Salt Lake attempts to beat the winless Rapids on the road for the first time in over five years Saturday night.
Saborio, the team leader with three goals, scored with 10 minutes left to give RSL a 1-1 draw with Colorado on March 16, and RSL (2-2-1) improved to 6-0-3 at home in the Rocky Mountain Cup since a loss there on April 30, 2007.
Salt Lake's win drought at Dick's Sporting Goods Park is almost as long, going 0-3-3 while scoring three goals in six visits since a victory Oct. 20, 2007. RSL dropped the last meeting 1-0 on Aug. 4, mustering only one shot on goal.
Saborio has five goals in eight games against the Rapids, but failed to even get a shot on target over the last two road meetings.
RSL, however, enters this meeting with some momentum and possibly its playmaker.
First-half goals from Robbie Findley and Luis Gil were enough to beat visiting Seattle 2-1 last Saturday. The victory may have been even better since Morales played the final 28 minutes in his first action since undergoing knee surgery two months ago.
The Argentine midfielder was rested for Monday's 1-0 exhibition win over Brigham Young.
"I gave her one more day to get ready to train and get ready for this weekend," Morales told the team's official website.
It's unclear if Morales will be back in the lineup, but he's the driving force behind RSL's offensive play. His 47 assists since joining the team in 2007 are a franchise record and rank fourth in the league in that span. However, he has no goals or assists in five trips to Colorado (0-3-2).
"We know how valuable Javier is," coach Jason Kreis said. "We know how gifted he is with the ball. We know that if we want to be an elite club in this country and in this league we are going to need a player like Javier Morales to make differences. So it's good to have him back on track and moving forward."
Colorado continues to deal with a slew of injuries - goalkeeper Matt Pickens, midfielders Pablo Mastroeni, Martin Rivero and Jaime Castrillon and defenders Anthony Wallace and Diego Calderon are out. Midfielder Kevin Harbottle joined the list with a sprained left knee suffered in practice last week and is sidelined 4-6 weeks.
Defender Drew Moor is completing a two-match suspension for elbowing an opponent in the face during a 1-0 defeat at Los Angeles on March 23.
Despite those absences, the Rapids seemed headed for a victory last Saturday, but blew a two-goal, second-half lead to settle for a 2-2 draw at home versus Portland.
The mounting injuries will likely mean a second straight start for rookie forward Dillon Powers, who netted his first career goal against the Timbers.