MLS Preview and Prediction: Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids

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

Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium – Sunday, June 7 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)

Match Odds: Real Salt Lake 1/1 – Draw 12/5 – Colorado Rapids 13/5

Match Preview

This Sunday night will see two of the biggest rivals in MLS square up against one another as Real Salt Lake welcome Colorado Rapids to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first Rocky Mountain Cup clash of the year.

Real Salt Lake sit in ninth in the Western Conference with 17 points and despite their low position, they are just two points off the playoff places.

RSL have lost their last two on the bounce coming into this game after suffering a 2-1 defeat against the Vancouver Whitecaps last week and falling 1-0 at the hands of LA Galaxy before that.

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Although their performances haven’t been great in those games, the performances of Javier Morales have been encouraging as he added his third of the season last weekend.

A win against their close rivals with results going their way will elevate them into the playoff places in a very congested Western Conference.

Colorado Rapids, like Real Salt Lake, have lost back-to-back games coming into this. A 1-0 defeat away at Seattle Sounders and a 2-1 home defeat to the Portland Timbers last weekend have left them at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Goals are still a problem for the Rapids as they have netted just 11 times in 13 games so far. The additions of Luc Solignac and Kevin Doyle should see more but neither has got off the mark yet.

Colorado have only won once away from home this season with that 4-0 victory over FC Dallas surprising many, but they’ll have their work cut out if they are to seal all three points on Sunday.

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RSL won the Rocky Mountain Cup after three wins last season, including a 5-1 victory in the most recent meeting back in September.

Team News

Real Salt Lake look set to be without Chris Schuler and Tony Beltran through injury, while Kyle Beckerman is on international duty with the USMNT along with Nick Rimando. Jordan Allen is also absent as he is with the US U20 squad in New Zealand.

Colorado Rapids look set to be without Marlon Hairston through injury, while Dillon Serna and Shane O’Neill are away on international duty.

Key Points

Real Salt Lake last five: W/L/W/L/L

Colorado Rapids last five: D/D/W/L/L

Key Stat: Real Salt Lake are unbeaten in their last 11 home games against the Colorado Rapids.

Key Player: Joao Plata – The Ecuadorian striker has recently come back from injury and Real Salt Lake need to focus on giving him the ball, as he knows how to find the back of the net.

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Score Prediction

Real Salt Lake 3-1 Colorado Rapids – The Rocky Mountain Cup holders will prevail comfortably as the hosts will pull away from the Western Conference’s basement side in what should be an open and entertaining affair.


MLS: 5 key stats heading into week 11

1. Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls

The Red Bulls are unbeaten against Toronto in their last ten meetings, and have not lost since June 2009.
The Reds come into this game on the back of three consecutive losses in MLS and have a tough task of beating a New York side who have only lost one of their past five, in last week’s 5-4 defeat to Chicago.


2. Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution

The Revs have never won at Philadelphia, and the Union have beaten New England 1-0 in the last three meetings between the two at PPL Park.
The Union will hope to keep that record going, and build on their fine win at Kansas City on Wednesday. Though New England come into this game on the back of three straight wins, and have not lost since early April.


3. FC Dallas vs Chivas USA

Chivas haven’t won at Dallas since 2009, when they won 2-0, but have not beaten them in six attempts since.
However, Dallas have lost their past four in a row, and face a Chivas side boosted by their win at Colorado last weekend.


4. Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids – Rocky Mountain Cup

The home side has not lost in this fixture since 2007, when Salt Lake beat the Rapids 1-0 to end their playoff hopes.
These two play for the Rocky Mountain Cup, a trophy awarded by the supporters groups of both teams. RSL enter this game unbeaten all season, and have three of their last four, while Colorado have won just one of their last five.


5. Portland Timbers vs Columbus Crew

There has not been more than one goal in any of the previous four meetings between these two sides.
This is the fifth meeting between the two and it should be as cagey as the previous encounters have been. Portland have won only one game this season, but are unbeaten at home, whereas the Crew are in bad shape, having not won since March, and have lost three on the bounce, without scoring.

It should be another highly entertaining weekend of MLS action, with many teams having to adapt to the losses of key players who have travelled to World Cup camps all around the globe. Be sure to expect the usual drama, goals and shock results Major League Soccer so often provides.