Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, UT – Real Salt Lake came into tonight’s match with hopes of securing their 5th Rocky Mountain Cup and moving up the table in the west. In a stunning 3 minutes RSL was able to secure the victory and make their case for home field advantage in the playoffs. Colorado played tough defense and with Kei Kamara leading their offense they had more shots on goal that RSL and they did that with only having 33% possession. The lead up to the goals really started when Kei Kamara was sent off after a serious foul. The spark that followed saw Damir Kreilach scored early in stoppage however the goal was disallowed soon after Joao Plata helped RSL earn a penalty kick that he was able to convert and just before full time Jefferson Savarino put the issue to rest.
The first half of the match was not what we have come to expect when we are playing at the RioT. Even with 65% of possession the home club. only took 4 shots on goal. Lalas Abubakar showed his size and strength often being the one to stop the RSL drive and at the same time the Rapids took 15 shots with Kei Kamara taking more than the entire Real squad with 6 shots. Nick Rimando was able to hold off the onslaught with help from a defense that was executing well making up for the lack of offense in the half.
Once the second half began it seemed like the Claret and Cobalt looked like a little more like we have come to expect when we are at Rio Tinto Stadium. In an effort to spark more offense Freddy Juarez made his only substitution in the 67th minute bringing on Joao Plata for Sam Johnson. It seemed to work with RSL going on on a shooting spree with 10 of their 19 shots on goal after Plata had entered the match. With time running out RSL got a little help after Kei Kamara was shown a straight red in the 89th minute for a serious foul. It didn’t take long for Real to respond, first it was Damir Kreilach in the first minute of stoppage that looked like he had put his club on top however after going to VAR the score was still 0-0. Later in the 5th minute of stoppage time Joao Plata was able to catch the hand of Lalas Abubakar in the penalty box and convert the PK for what would end up being the game winnner. Just before the match ended Jefferson Savarino put an exclamation point on the night with a beautiful shot in the 90’+8′ and help his club bring home the Rocky Mountain Cup.
With the yellow cards shown to Kellyn Acost and Lalas Abubakar and the red card shown to Kei Kamara, Colorado will be very short-handed when they go up against the New York Red Bulls next week. Real Salt Lake had a amazing 90% passing efficiency tonight. Nick Rimando officially had five blocked shots but once again he did a masterful job directing the defense that was a brick wall against the massive number of Rapids shots. RSL finds it self currently in 2nd place in the west with only 6 matches remaining in their schedule making this match very important as they still have the Timbers, San Jose, LA Galaxy, New England, Houston and Vancouver left on this seasons schedule.
Goals by Period 1 2 F
Real Salt Lake 0 2 2
Colorado Rapids 0 0 0
RSL – Joao Plata – 90’+6′
RSL – Jefferson Savarino – 90’+9′
RSL – Brooks Lennon – 8′ – unsporting behavior
COL – Diego Rubio – 48′ – unsporting behavior
COL – Keegan Rosenberry – 73′ – unsporting behavior
RSL – Kyle Beckerman – 74′ – unsporting behavior
COL – Kellyn Acosta – 81′ – unsporting behavior
COL – Lalas Abubakar – 87′ – dissent
COL – Kei Kamara – 89′ – serious foul RED
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referee: Jeremy Hanson
Assistant Referee: Jason White
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Video Assistant Referee: David Ganter
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Justen Glad; Nedum Onouha; Everton Luiz; Donny Toia; Kyle Beckerman; Albert Rusnak; Damir Kreilach; Brooks Lennon; Sam Johnson (Joao Plata, 68′); Jefferson Savarino
Substitutes Not Used: David Ochoa; Kelyn Rowe; Luke Mulholland; Tate Schmidt; Sebastian Saucedo; Marcelo Silva
Colorado Rapids: Tim Howard; Keegan Rosenberry; Lalas Abubakkar; Tommy Smith; Sam Vines; Jack Price; Kellyn Acosta; Sam Nicholson; Diego Rubio (Nicolas Mequida, 76′); Andre Shinyashiki; Kei Kamara
Substitutes Not Used: Clint Irwin; Danny Wilson; Kofi Opare; Axel Sjoberg; Dillon Serna; Jonathan Lewis
Next up for RSL
Real Salt Lake heads to Portland, Oregon next Saturday August 30th to Providence Park as they try to improve their playoff position.