by Max Jeppesen
Real Salt Lake traveled to face the Colorado Rapids in a Rocky Mountain Cup showdown. Both teams were on a two-game winning streak, and both are hoping for a third. It was the Rapids that game on top with a 2-1 win at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
It was a scoreless first half, but it was nothing short of entertaining. Fifteen shots between the two sides almost broke the deadlock. Rubio Rubin made it 1-0 in the 34th minute before the VAR (video assistant referee) reviewed it as offsides. It was a brilliant ball from Justen Glad. Rubin was there for a tap-in, but Glad was offside.
According to the RSL broadcast team, goalkeeper Zac MacMath was experiencing knee soreness before the second half began. Head coach Freddy Juarez said that it was a prudent reason and is not a severe injury. This gave third-string goalkeeper Andrew Putna playing time for the first game this season.
Real Salt Lake started to dominate the second half. Jonathan Menedez and Aaron Herrera created many chances as they were able to cut through the Rapids’ defense. In the 51st minute, Herrera was able to find Albert Rusnak ten yards from goal. He slotted it home, giving RSL the 1-0 lead. Rusnak hit it for the first time of the game and found the near-post corner.
Colorado would respond quickly. On a corner kick, Jack Price found Diego Rubio who headed it to the far post. Only seven minutes later, the Rapids would take the lead. Brian Galvan crossed to Philip Mayaka unmarked in the box, who scored his first goal in a Rapids jersey.
Unfortunately, RSL was not able to respond. It wasn’t without effort. However, Damir Kreliach was awarded a penalty in the 81st minute. VAR reviewed the challenge and the decision was a goal kick that turned out to be unsuccessful.
For Real Salt Lake, this was a tough loss. Losing a lead on the road hurts, especially to a rival. RSL has eight days of rest to recuperate for their next game in Vancouver. Much-needed rest will be appreciated. They have been playing a game every four days for the whole month of August. The two goalkeepers, David Ochoa and Zac MacMath, will look to recover from their injuries.
Featured image courtesy Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports