Real Salt Lake versus Colorado preview
The last time it visited Colorado, Real Salt Lake scored in the final minute to clinch its first playoff berth and eliminate the Rapids from contention on the last day of the 2008 regular season.
Salt Lake hopes the momentum from the most lopsided win in team history can ward off the Rapids' quest for some revenge Saturday night as the teams meet in Colorado for the only time this season.
When the clubs last squared off at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Real (3-2-0) got a last-minute goal from Yura Movsisyan to rally for a 1-all tie against the Rapids (2-2-2) on Oct. 25. The draw clinched a playoff spot for Salt Lake and kept Colorado out of the postseason for a second consecutive year.
Movsisyan was one of six RSL players to find the back of the net in last Saturday's franchise-record 6-0 win over New England. The performance doubled Salt Lake's season scoring output to 12 goals, tying Chicago for the MLS lead.
"We've kind of gone into things, for a while now, thinking we needed to open up defenses by playing it behind them," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "I think we're a very good passing team. We can solve problems that are placed in front of us by passing ourselves out of it."
Kreis, though, appeared to be concerned with Movsisyan's play, despite the forward scoring his first goal of 2009 after netting a team-high seven in 22 games last year.
"He looked like a guy under a lot of pressure to score," Kreis said. "He put himself into some fantastic positions, but then just looked a little confused when he got in around the goal, very indecisive."
Salt Lake's road struggles might be a bigger worry for Kreis. The team has lost both of its games as the visitor by 2-0 scores after going 2-9-4 last season. RSL fell on the road again Tuesday, losing 4-1 at Seattle in a U.S. Open Cup qualifier.
Real and the Rapids split the season series last year at 1-1-1. However, Salt Lake had one more away goal to win the tiebreaker for the Rocky Mountain Cup, awarded to the winner of the season series by supporters' groups from both clubs.
Colorado, which is 1-0-1 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, is looking to snap a three-game winless streak. It settled for a 1-all tie against Los Angeles at home last Saturday, allowing a goal to Landon Donovan with eight minutes to play.
The Rapids could use some consistency from Colin Clark, who got his first goal of the season last Saturday. The fourth-year midfielder, who also has two assists, had five goals and three assists in 29 games last year -- his first as a regular in the lineup.
"I've said from the start (that) Colin should be chipping in with five or six goals and just as many or more assists," Rapids coach Gary Smith said. "He's a work in progress. We're delighted with what we get from Colin. We would just like to see a little bit more composure. He's a hard-working lad and he has a bright future."