Real Salt Lake-Rapids Preview

Real Salt Lake-Rapids Preview

Published Aug. 2, 2013 8:25 p.m. ET

If a series needs to be competitive to truly be considered a rivalry, the Rocky Mountain Cup hasn't fit the bill in recent years.

The red-hot Colorado Rapids have a chance to change that.

Colorado can claim the Cup for the first time since 2006 with a result Saturday night as it hosts Real Salt Lake.

The Rapids won the trophy in each of its first two years of existence, but Salt Lake has since earned it six straight times. It is presented annually to the team with the most points in matches played between the two.


They played to a one-all draw at Salt Lake on March 16, then Colorado claimed a 1-0 home win on April 6. If RSL wins it will keep the trophy.

The Rapids (9-7-7) enter the season's final meeting on a 4-0-2 run. That streak has seen three shutouts, including a 2-0 home win over Los Angeles last Saturday. Dillon Powers scored his fourth goal and recorded his third assist in six games.

"We kept putting in hard work and kept believing in what we are doing in our training," coach Oscar Pareja said after his club's first victory in seven matches against the Galaxy. "The most important thing is the group is convinced and committed with the club."

Real Salt Lake (11-7-4) still leads the league in points and goals scored, but is coming off back-to-back losses for the first time since a three-game skid last Aug. 4-18. Salt Lake had gone 6-0-2 in its previous eight MLS matches.

A 4-3 loss at New York last Saturday marked the most goals RSL surrendered since a 5-0 loss at San Jose on July 14, 2012.

Alvaro Saborio accounted for all three goals for Salt Lake, which trailed 2-0 after the 23rd minute, then took a 3-2 lead in the 82nd minute before surrendering two late scores.

"It's a really tough loss and it's going to stick with us for a day or so," coach Jason Kreis said. "We were down two goals at someone else's place. If we came back to win, it would have been historic. But then we lose? I just hope it doesn't have a lasting mental effect on our players."

Saborio, whose hat trick was the league's fourth this year, scored in the teams' draw earlier this season. He leads the team with eight goals despite playing in just nine matches.

Real Salt Lake is 2-7-4 all-time at Colorado, including a 0-4-3 since 2008.

RSL will be without Yordany Alvarez for three games after he was suspended for a reckless challenge on New York's Tim Cahill.

Colorado's Hendry Thomas was given a one-game suspension for committing a reckless challenge on Galaxy midfielder Hector Jimenez. He also has a one-game suspension to serve for accumulating yellow cards, so he will miss the Rapids' next two games.