MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Friday, August 26 – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST)

Match Odds: RSL 5/6 – Draw 11/5 – Colorado 10/3

Match Preview

Real Salt Lake host the Colorado Rapids in the latest Rocky Mountain Cup battle on Friday night, with both sides chasing Western Conference leaders FC Dallas as the regular season edges closer to completion.

RSL have been very inconsistent for a number of months, but they are unbeaten at home this term and that is keeping them at the right end of the standings as things stand.

Real Salt Lake have won just three of their last 11 MLS outings but are just five points off Supporters’ Shield leaders Dallas with eight games to play.

Seattle Sounders vs Real Salt Lake - Joao Plata Celebrates

A win over their rivals on Friday would see them move ahead of the Rapids and into second place in the West, so this is a massive clash for both sides.

Colorado have surprised everyone with their performances this season. They have looked solid throughout, conceding the fewest goals of every side and losing just three times all campaign.

They should make the playoffs without too much difficulty, but need to ensure they start winning games more regularly if they are to be a force through the postseason.

Kevin Doyle, MLS: New York City FC vs. Colorado Rapids

A run of just one win in their last five has left the Rapids still chasing top spot Dallas, although they do have two games in hand and only need to make up two points on the leaders. A victory here would be a major boost with the playoffs fast approaching.

This will be the 37th MLS regular season meeting between these Western Conference rivals. Real Salt Lake hold a narrow advantage based on previous meetings, winning 14 and losing 12 against the Rapids, with 10 matches ending in a draw.

Team News

Jeff Cassar has four injury worries ahead of Friday’s game. Emery Welshman, Sunday Stephen and Aaron Maund are all out, while Jordan Allen is a doubt and is unlikely to feature. Right-back Tony Beltran is suspended as a result of yellow card accumulation and won’t be available.

Colorado’s Dillon Serna remains out for the season, while Sebastien Le Toux, Sean St. Ledger and Jermaine Jones are all doubtful and are therefore unlikely to return to the team on Friday.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake’s last five: W/L/W/L/W

Colorado Rapids’ last five: D/L/W/D/D

Key Stat: Colorado have not won away at Real Salt Lake since 2007, losing nine of the 13 games at Rio Tinto since.

Key Player: Nick Rimando – The RSL goalkeeper keeps coming up big for his side and kept a clean sheet in last weekend’s crucial battle against FC Dallas. Another clean sheet here would put RSL in a really strong position and he will be looking to shutout the Rapids for the second time this season on Friday.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 1-1 Colorado Rapids – This is set to be a close-fought battle between two sides that will be desperate to avoid defeat in such an important contest. RSL should keep their unbeaten home record intact but the Rapids are a tough outfit to break down. Score draw.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. FC Dallas

Venue: Dicks Sporting Goods Park – Saturday, July 24 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Colorado 13/10 – Draw 9/4 – FC Dallas 21/10

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids host FC Dallas on Saturday night in a huge clash that will see the top two teams in the Western Conference go head-to-head at Dicks Sporting Goods Park.

Colorado, who are currently sitting in second, will claim top spot with a win over the current league leaders. But avoiding defeat will be the priority for the Rapids as anything but a loss will leave them in a great position going forward.

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Colorado are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in MLS – a run which no one would have predicted at the start of the campaign. The dramatic turnaround at the Rapids has been refreshing to see and they are in a great position to push on for the rest of the season. Another strong performance here would only solidify their title claims.

FC Dallas still hold top spot and will need a win on Saturday to suppress the Rapids’ ongoing challenge for the Western Conference title.

Dallas have won four of their last five in MLS so they come into this one in good form. They will be wanting three points from this one to be sure of their stance, but know that an away trip to Dicks Sporting Goods Park will be no easy contest.

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These sides have already met in the US Open Cup this season, with Dallas sealing a 2-1 home win a month ago. This will be the first of two regular season battles between the pair.

The last two MLS meetings between these sides have ended 1-1, with both clashes taking place in Colorado. Another close battle is expected here.

Team News

Colorado Rapids will be without Dillon Serna who is out injured. Jermaine Jones is a doubt with an undisclosed injury.

Zach Loyd is out with a concussion and will not feature for Dallas. Ryan Hollingshead is also suffering with concussion symptoms but is expected to be available come kickoff.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ last five: W/D/D/D/W

FC Dallas’ last five: W/W/W/L/W

Key Stat: Colorado Rapids are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in MLS.

Key Player: Fabian Castillo – The Colombian winger is essential to this FC Dallas team and has firmly established himself as one the most dangerous attacking players in the league. Expect him to make a difference on Saturday night in a close game.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-1 FC Dallas – Colorado’s unbelievable turnaround has made them the hardest side to beat in MLS this year. Having said that, Dallas have four wins in their last five and will be wanting to hold onto top spot for as long as possible. We’re expecting a tight game, which will probably end in another 1-1 draw between the pair.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, May 21 – 22:00 ET (03:00 BST)

Match Odds: Seattle 19/20 – Draw 12/5 – Columbus 3/1

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders welcome high-flying Colorado Rapids to CenturyLink Field on Saturday evening in a game which has the makings for a great fixture.

Seattle saw their two-game winning streak come to an end last time out as they lost 2-0 against Dallas, it was their second loss in their last five outings.

Sigi Schmid’s side sit 8th in the Western Conference on 13 points, trailing the top six by four points. They need to continue to improve on what has slow start to the 2016 campaign if they are to make the playoffs.

Sounders have already lost to Colorado this season, which was their first defeat to the Rapids after a five-game winning streak beforehand.Seattle Sounders vs Philadelphia Union

Colorado extended their unbeaten run to seven games after their 1-1 draw away at Columbus last time out. They have won five of those seven outings and are proving difficult opponents to breakdown.

Pablo Mastroeni’s side reamain top of the Western Conference on 24 points and lead the way in the Supporters’ Shield standings by seven points.

The Rapids are unbeaten on the road in three and have been impressive so far this season. They have conceded the fewest amount of goals in Major League Soccer.

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Team News

Seattle Sounders have just one injury concern as Roman Torres remains out.

Colorado Rapids have three injury concerns. Sean St. Ledger, Eric Miller and Marco Pappa are all expected to miss out.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/L/W/W/L

Columbus Crew’s last five: W/D/W/W/D

Key Stat: Seattle Sounders are in a great run of form at CenturyLink Field, winning four games on the bounce at home.

Key Player: Jordan Morris – The Sounders forward had scored in four consecutive games up until last weekend. His run of goals matched the all-time MLS record for a scoring run by a rookie.

Seattle Sounders vs Philadelphia Union Jordan Morris

Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 1-1 Colorado Rapids – The sides to share the points in a low scoring tie. Seattle will feel confident of taking on anyone who visits CenturyLink Field at the moment considering their great home form, while Colorado aren’t losing games, so this has the makings of an intriguing tie with two sides cancelling each other out.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. Sporting Kansas City

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Wednesday, May 11 – 21:00 ET (02:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: Colorado 19/20 – Draw 12/5 – Kansas City 3/1

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids welcome Sporting Kansas City to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday evening in the first outing of a double gameweek for both of these sides.

Colorado are in fine form as they sit top of the Western Conference and lead the way in the Supporters’ Shield standings by two points.

Pablo Mastroeni will be delighted with how his side have performed so far this season. They come into this tie off the back of their 1-0 home win against Real Salt Lake, which was their 5th consecutive home win of the 2016 campaign. They have scored eight goals in that run and only conceded two.

The Rapids will be full of confidence heading into the game. They are unbeaten in their last six games and have won the last three meetings between the sides, including their 2-1 win over SKC earlier in the season.

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Sporting Kansas City are experiencing a difficult patch of form. They come into this tie off the back of their 2-0 away loss to Houston.

SKC won their first two away games of 2016 but are winless in four on the road since then, losing three and drawing one. They have scored five goals in those six away games.

Peter Vermes will be disappointed with how recent results have gone and his side now sit 6th in the Western Conference, which is disappointing considering they had won four of their first five games in the 2016 regular season.

Sporting Kansas City haven’t won any of their last six games, their longest winless run since 2011 where that tally extended to ten games, something the SKC fans will be fearing could happen again.

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Team News

Colorado Rapids have three injury concerns ahead of this tie as Sean St Ledger, Eric Miller and Marco Pappa all look set to miss out.

Sporting Kansas City have just the two injury concerns. Kevin Ellis is out, while Soni Mustivar is a doubt. Neither of the sides have any players suspended or nearing suspension.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ form: W/W/W/D/W

Sporting Kansas City’s form: L/L/D/D/L

Key Stat: Colorado have won all five of their home games so far this season, which is the same amount they managed in all of their home games in the 2015 campaign.

Key Player: Jermaine Jones – The Rapids midfielder has been a great addition to their squad. He has netted three goals in his four appearances so far this season and is one of the league’s most complete midfielders.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 2-0 Sporting Kansas City – The Rapids are in a fine run of form and face a SKC side who seem to be lacking confidence. Given how good Colorado have been at home this season it would be surprising to see anything other than three points once again at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for Mastroeni’s side.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Sporting Park – Wednesday, April 13 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Sporting KC 5/6 – Draw 12/5 – Colorado 7/2

Match Preview

Sporting Kansas City welcome Colorado Rapids to Sporting Park in an all-Western Conference clash on Wednesday evening. 

SKC are leading the way in the Supporters’ Shield standings after their impressive start to the season which has seen them lose just the once. They take on FC Dallas this coming weekend and will be hoping to continue their run of form by taking maximum points in this double gameweek.

Peter Vermes’ side come into this one off the back of their solid 2-0 away win over New York Red Bulls on Saturday and will be brimming with confidence. SKC have been solid at the back so far this season and opponents have struggled to breach their defence.

Last season’s meeting at Sporting Park saw Sporting Kansas City’s suffer their first home loss to Colorado since 2002, ending a 15-game unbeaten streak against the Rapids.

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Colorado have had a solid start to the 2016 regular season and are sitting sixth, in a playoff spot, in the Western Conference as a result.

Pablo Mastroeni’s side have won two, drawn one and lost two of their five fixtures so far. They come into this one off the back of their 1-0 loss away at Real Salt Lake last time out and will be hoping to bounce back immediately.

The Rapids won two of the three meetings between these sides last season, but as previously mentioned they have historically struggled away against SKC. If Mastroeni’s side can take a win from this game it will go a long way to showing Rapids fans they are capable of putting their away struggles against SKC to an end.

Colorado’s next fixture sees them take on New York Red Bulls at home. Rapids fans will be optimistic about taking two positive results out of this double gameweek and continue building towards a push for the playoffs.

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Team News

Sporting Kansas City could be without up to five players through injury. Justin Mapp, Matt Besler, Brad Davis and Soni Mustivar are all expected to miss out, while Paulo Nagamura is a doubt.

Colorado Rapids are also expecting to be without five through injury. Sean St.Ledger, John Berner, Kevin Doyle, Jared Watts and Marlon Hairston are all out. Jermaine Jones is serving the final game of his ban he picked up in last season’s playoffs and so his debut is not too far away.

Key Points

Sporting Kansas City’s last five: W/W/W/L/W

Colorado Rapids’ last five: L/W/D/W/L

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City and Colorado Rapids have the joint best defensive records so far this season, with both sides only conceding three goals in their five outings respectively.

Key Player: Dom Dwyer – The SKC forward has got off a strong scoring start this campaign, with three in five. He netted in his side’s win last weekend and will be looking to cause the Rapids trouble in this midweek clash.

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Score Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Colorado Rapids – Despite Colorado ending their winless run away against SKC they are likely to struggle here considering how strong the home side have been at the start of this season. As the saying goes, old habits die hard.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Colorado Rapids vs. LA Galaxy 

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Saturday, March 12 – 19:00 ET (00:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: Colorado 19/10 – Draw 12/5 – Galaxy 11/8

Match Preview

Colorado Rapids welcome LA Galaxy to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for their first home outing of the 2016 MLS regular season on Saturday night.

Colorado lost their opener 1-0 away at San Jose Earthquakes, leaving them with just one win in their last nine MLS outings.

The Rapids only won one of their first five games in 2015 and they cannot afford to have another poor run at the start of this season otherwise they will find themselves struggling early on.

Pablo Mastroeni will be hoping his side can pick up a result here to give the players and fans a real boost for their upcoming games – considering LA Galaxy’s impressive start to the 2016 season, this would be more than welcomed.

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LA Galaxy got off to a flyer, winning 4-1 at home against DC United on Sunday. They now sit top of the Western Conference and have the best goal difference across both conferences heading into Week 2.

Bruce Arena’s side really impressed against DC United and came back with some force after finding themselves behind with just five minutes on the clock.

If Galaxy are to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield this campaign they are going to have to show the same determination they did last weekend throughout the season.

2015 wasn’t their best campaign and they looked limp on far too many occasions. Last weekend was a fantastic start to the season, something they must build upon here. Winning away from home proved difficult for LA in 2015 so it will be intriguing to see how they cope on Saturday evening.

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Team News

Colorado Rapids are expected to be without Sean St. Ledger. Fans will also have to wait another five games before they see Jermaine Jones make his debut as he is suspended.

LA Galaxy have a few injury concerns heading into this one. Dan Kennedy and Giovani Dos Santos both had to be replaced in the opener against DC and are unlikely to feature here, while Alan Gordon, Jeff Larentowicz and Leonardo are all doubts.

Key Points

Colorado Rapids’ form: L

LA Galaxy’s form: W

Key Stat: LA Galaxy are unbeaten in the last four meetings between the sides, winning three and drawing one and have scored 14 goals in those games.

Key Player: Nigel de Jong – The Galaxy holding midfielder made an impressive debut last weekend and he has the ability to keep the middle of the park calm. He can continue to make a good impression here and show why he can be the difference in keeping the Galaxy consistent this season.

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Score Prediction

Colorado Rapids 1-2 LA Galaxy – LA Galaxy should prove too much for Colorado in this one and will look to continue their unbeaten run against the Rapids. LA should be looking to take three points in games similar to this one all season and should be overpowering their opponents given the strength of Bruce Arena’s squad.

Colorado Rapids make statement by signing Jermaine Jones as non-DP

The Colorado Rapids have made a huge statement of intent by announcing they have acquired the services of USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones in a trade with New England Revolution.

The move puts an end to months of uncertainty regarding Jones’ future, after he failed to reach an agreement with New England with regard to staying for a third season.

Colorado have brought in the 34-year-old powerhouse in exchange for general allocation money and their first pick of the 2017 SuperDraft.

Jermaine Jones in action for New England Revolution against DC United in their Eastern Conference wildcard game during the 2015 MLS Playoffs (Photo: Matt Mathai)

Jermaine Jones in action for New England Revolution against DC United in their Eastern Conference wildcard game during the 2015 MLS Playoffs (Photo: Matt Mathai)

Jones has not penned a Designated Player contract with Colorado, though, as targeted allocation money was used on his deal instead.

Keeping Jones in MLS is a boost for the league. The 58-time capped US international proved to be one of the league’s best midfielders over the last season-and-a-half in New England and Colorado fans will undoubtedly be excited by the move.

Jones joined the Revs in August 2014, via a blind draw and went on to make 33 total appearances for the club in the regular season and playoffs combined, scoring three goals with six assists. He was a major reason behind New England’s run to the 2014 MLS Cup Final and Colorado will hope his signing can propel them up the Western Conference.

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The Rapids ended 2015 at the foot of the West and will be hoping that a busy offseason of incomings and outgoings can bring a change of fortunes this term.

They open their 2016 season away at San Jose on Sunday night, but will be without Jones for the first six games of the new campaign as he will serve a suspension for pushing referee Mark Geiger in New England’s playoff defeat to DC United last October.

How good a signing is Jermaine Jones for the Colorado Rapids? Can he help lead the team to a playoff spot?

MLS Preview and Prediction: San Jose Earthquakes vs Colorado Rapids

Competition: Major League Soccer – San Jose Earthquakes vs. Colorado Rapids

Venue: Avaya Stadium – Sunday, March 6 – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: San Jose 19/20 – Draw 9/4 – Colorado 16/5

Match Preview

San Jose Earthquakes host Colorado Rapids in an intriguing 2016 MLS opener on Sunday, as two sides that struggled last term will look to get off to a flying start by immediately moving in front of the other.

San Jose came close to making the playoffs in 2015 but ultimately had to settle for a seventh-place finish in the West. They did finish ten points ahead of Colorado, who disappointingly ended the campaign at the foot of the conference.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Both sides will enter the new year hoping for better and meeting in the season opener gives both teams the chance to lay out an early marker for success in what looks set to be a close game.

San Jose won the last three games of their preseason preparations and will hope to keep that momentum going into the new season. They lost 1-0 at Dallas in last year’s opener but have a much better chance of sealing three points this time around.

Colorado, meanwhile, had to wait five games for their first victory of 2015 and will hope to get off the mark quicker this term.

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Pablo Mastroeni has made some key changes to the squad over the offseason, with some talented playmakers joining the club. He will hope they hit the ground running to give Irish striker Kevin Doyle some much-needed service up top.

These two sides met twice last year in two low-scoring affairs. They drew 1-1 in Colorado, before San Jose sealed a 1-0 home win over the Rapids in August. Another close encounter is expected on Sunday.

Team News

San Jose enter the new season without Marc Pelosi, who will be out for some time with a serious knee injury. While they will also have to start without star playmaker Matias Perez Garcia, who will serve a one-game suspension for the red card picked up on the final day of the 2015 season. Innocent Emeghara is back from injury but may start on the bench, though new signing Simon Dawkins should start the game.

Colorado have no injury concerns heading into the new season and so Pablo Mastroeni has a full squad to choose from. New signings Marco Pappa, Shkelzen Gashi and Mekeil Williams will all expect to start. Kevin Doyle should lead the attack.

Key Points

San Jose Earthquakes’ preseason form: W/W/L/L/W/L/W/W/W

Colorado Rapids’ preseason form: W/W/L/D/L/W

Key Stat: San Jose are unbeaten in 12 MLS games against Colorado (W6 D6).

Key Player: Chris Wondolowski – The San Jose talisman so often delivers when it matters most and he will be desperate to drive his team onto an opening day win against Western Conference rivals here. Whether he plays upfront or in midfield, he will expect to influence the game in a positive way for the Quakes.

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Score Prediction

San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Colorado Rapids – San Jose enjoyed a more promising preseason campaign than the Rapids and should make home advantage count against a team they haven’t lost to since 2011. This should be a close game, and both teams will expect to find the net, but the Quakes look more likely to go on and win it and will look to get 2016 off to a flying start in front of their own fans.

From MLS to Premier League, and back again – has Tim Howard still got what it takes?

USA international goalkeeper Tim Howard looks set to join MLS side Colorado Rapids from Everton, according to reports by ESPN FC.

First appearing in MLS in 1998 for MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls), Howard then moved to Manchester United in 2003, before signing for Everton in 2007 after a year-long loan spell.

After 13 years of service in the Premier League, he’s finally returning home to the USA for a transfer fee believed to be in the region of $600-750k.

Howard will reportedly sign a contract with the Rapids until 2019, which will see him earn around $2 million per-year.

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It comes after initial reports had indicated that he was after a deal that would have seen him receive an annual salary of $5m.

Either way, he’s about to become the highest-paid goalkeeper in MLS, but the question is, is he really worth it?

Here’s a look at his Premier League stats over the last four seasons:

Tim Howard's Premier League stats since 2012 (via Squawka)

Tim Howard’s Premier League stats since 2012 (via Squawka)

Despite enduring one of his more uncomfortable seasons between the sticks for Everton so far, including losing his place in the side to Joel Robles, Howard has maintained a fairly consistent level of performance.

A closer look at the stats shows that he’s actually performed better in some areas this season than he did in the last campaign, with a higher clean sheet percentage and more saves-per-goal, although he has conceded more goals-per-game.

The 2013/14 season was particularly outstanding, but if you compare this year to 2012/13, his numbers are very similar, so he hasn’t gone downhill over the course of time.

The 36-year-old has been a stalwart for both club and country over the years, making more than 400 appearances for Everton and gaining 106 caps for the US national side, including being part of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup squads.

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He also made 77 appearances for Manchester United, winning the FA Cup and League Cup during his three-year tenure with the Red Devils.

Verdict: Tim Howard will be an excellent signing for the Colorado Rapids and provides stability, experience and most importantly, top quality goalkeeping. He’s bound to be a hit in MLS and could provide the Rapids with performances that make the difference between winning and losing games.

Howard’s transfer from Everton to Colorado Rapids is expected to go through when the MLS summer transfer window opens in July, meaning he will remain with the Toffees until the end of the Premier League season.

Will Tim Howard be a good signing for Colorado Rapids?