A sombre atmosphere surrounded the Rocky Mountain Cup clash at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah.
This week’s horrific shooting at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado saw twelve innocent people lose their lives and both sets of fans gave their respects before the kick off.
Today the White House said President Obama would meet survivors and families of victims, as well as local officials in Aurora.
Prost Amerika would like to send our own condolences to all our readers in Colorado, including fans, players and staff of the Colorado Rapids.
Real Salt Lake 2: Colorado Rapids 0
Match Report by Kali Korbis
Real Salt Lake clinched its sixth consecutive Rocky Mountain Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.
Alvaro Saborio and Will Johnson both scored to give RSL its second win over their RMC rivals this season.
After struggling in many of its most recent matches, Real was able to field an almost entirely first-choice lineup, with Kyle Beckerman’s absence through suspension the only missing piece. Yordany Alvarez started in his place, while Nat Borchers, Ned Grabavoy, and Tony Beltran were able to return to the starting eleven.
Colorado was playing its third match in eight days, and the fatigue, combined with injuries, took a toll on the starting lineup.
Conor Casey was held out of the 18-man roster altogether, while Omar Cummings and Brian Mullan remained on the bench. In addition, Jeff Larentowicz was unavailable due to suspension.
While the Salt Lake-Colorado rivalry has been fraught with some tense moments in past years, Saturday’s match began with a mark of respect.
Rio Tinto Stadium held a moment of silence before kickoff in honor of the Aurora shooting victims, as well as Rapids staff member Marisa Colaiano, who passed away earlier this week.
The Rapids players and coaches also wore black armbands in Colaiano’s honor.
However, once the opening whistle sounded, it was all business for both teams. Real started brightly and showed more urgency than in some recent outings, with Fabian Espindola driving in on goal during the first minute. Although Espindola was ultimately unsuccessful in that attempt, the effort was indicative of RSL’s mindset.
Meanwhile, Colorado made it difficult for Real to move through the central midfield, as its defensive midfielders sat on top of the back four to clog up the middle in a 4-5-1 formation. Although RSL was able to find a few chances early on, the Rapids defense did a good job of clearing the ball out of danger; the most threatening moment came on a Nat Borchers flick-on that passed across the goalmouth in the 17th minute.
RSL finally went ahead in the 32nd minute, when Marvell Wynne’s errant backpass left Matt Pickens in an awkward position. Espindola made a clutch tackle on Pickens to send the ball bouncing toward goal. Saborio, following up from the right side, waited to see if the ball would fall into the net before finally slotting it home into the empty goal.
The Rapids had several chances to equalize late in the half, but failed to capitalize on them, and the match remained at 1-0 going into halftime.
Colorado coach Oscar Pareja made a tactical switch at halftime, bringing Cummings on for Jaime Castrillon, and the change gave the RSL backline a few headaches at times. Real coach Jason Kreis noted of his side’s second-half defensive effort:
“I think for whatever reason we were a little bit flat most of that second half…we certainly need to continue to strive for a better performance for all of the 90 minutes because I did think we were under it there for quite a while.”
While the nature of the game changed a bit after halftime, particularly after Mullan came on for Edu in the 56th minute, Colorado failed to notch any shots on goal.
Javier Morales forced Pickens to make an excellent save in the 67th minute and Espindola had a handful of chances in the second half, but RSL couldn’t find another goal itself until the 90th minute. Saborio took advantage of a miscue by Tyrone Marshall and played the ball through to Johnson, who made a run to the right and hit the ball far post to beat Pickens.
Both the result and the effort were a good omen for Real, particularly after last week’s disheartening blowout at San Jose. Kreis was pleased with his side’s attitude in training throughout the week, and that carried through to the match.
Grabavoy said of his teammates on Saturday:
“I looked at the team before the game, and it was maybe the most relaxed I’ve seen them in a long time. I think that says a lot about the guys.”
Meanwhile, for the Rapids, Pareja was frank in his opinion of the match:
“I just had the feeling that we had seen this game before. It was a solid performance from our boys but in the end it was just two big mistakes that ended up killing us. We showed a lot of character but the same mistakes have killed us in these last couple of games.”
Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2) – Nick Rimando; Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Kwame Watson-Siriboe, 63’), Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert; Yordany Álvarez; Ned Grabavoy, Will Johnson; Javier Morales (C); Fabian Espíndola (Jonny Steele, 77’), Álvaro Saborío
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Reynish (GK), Kenny Mansally, Justin Braun, Luis Gil, Emiliano Bonfigli
Colorado Rapids (4-5-1) – Matt Pickens; Drew Moor (C), Marvell Wynne, Tyrone Marshall, Tyson Wahl; Tony Cascio, Jaime Castrillon (Omar Cummings, 46’), Joseph Nane, Martin Rivero (Kamani Hill, 74’), Wells Thompson; Edu (Brian Mullan, 56’)
Substitutes Not Used: Steward Ceus (GK), Hunter Freeman, Shane O’Neill, Jamie Smith
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee’s Assistants: Kevin Kuliba, Baboucarr Jallow
4th Official: Allen Chapman
Time of Game: 1:55
Weather: Cloudy and 88 degrees
REAL SALT LAKE 2 – COLORADO RAPIDS 0
SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012
RIO TINTO STADIUM
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 1 1 2
Colorado Rapids 0 0 0
Scoring Summary: RSL – Álvaro Saborío (Fabian Espíndola) – 32’
RSL – Will Johnson (Álvaro Saborío) – 90’
Misconduct Summary: COL – Joseph Nane (Foul) – 45’
RSL – Jonny Steele (Foul) – 82’