This week’s Thursday night feature match saw Rocky Mountain Cup rivals Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids meet at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. In a physical yet mostly midfield affair, it was the at home Rapids who found their touch in the final third to take a 2-0 victory and maintain its hold on the top spot in the west.
The first half saw few opportunities on either side, with both teams combining for only five shots on goal. The best chance came in the 24th minute when a Colorado corner kick from Christian Gomez was hit perfectly to the head of Omar Cummings. However, goalkeeper Nick Rimando was able to collect the resulting header after he blocked it to the ground. Two minutes later, Salt Lake’s Chris Wingert was given the game’s only yellow card for a late tackle on Jacob Peterson.
The second half started with Colorado dominating possession but unable to get any shots on the net. That finally changed in the 65th minute when Herculez Gomez found Colin Clark on the run down the left side. Clark then delivered a centering pass right at the feet of Omar Cummings, who was able to angle it inside the far post for Colorado’s first goal of the game and Cummings’ third of the season.
Real Salt Lake had a chance to level it at 77 minutes with a corner kick, but Kenny Deuchar’s header soared over the top of the goal. 5 minutes after that, Colorado was awarded a penalty kick after Salt Lake’s Matias Mantilla handled a Rapids’ pass inside the penalty box. Christian Gomez took the spot kick and beat the keeper on the left side, giving Colorado the two goal advantage. Salt Lake would get one more chance in the first minute of stoppage time through a free kick just a yard outside the box, but Fabian Espindola’s effort was successfully picked up by Bouna Coundoul in what ended up being RSL’s only shot on goal in the second half.
By winning, the Rapids stay in the lead in the Western Conference with 12 points from 4 wins and 4 losses. Colorado has won three of four matches at its home stadium this year. Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake gets their fourth loss of the season and remain on 8 points after 8 matches. RSL is one of only two teams in MLS, along with D.C. United, who has failed to keep a clean sheet in any match this season.
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