SANDY, UT (August 26, 2016) – The Colorado Rapids lost the 2016 Rocky Mountain Cup to Real Salt Lake on Friday night. RSL won the match 2-1 thanks to a brace from Yura Movsisyan and some poor defending from the Rapids.
Rocky Mountain Cup 2016: Rapids Defense Costs Trophy 2-1 At RSL
Once again, Colorado head coach Pablo Mastroeni had some choices to make with his Starting XI. Dillon Powers made another start at the holding midfield role in place of Michael Azira. Shkelzen Gashi started at the No. 10 role. Marco Pappa made his first start in a month at wide midfield in place of Marlon Hairston.
Salt Lake head coach Jeff Cassar started a preferred lineup. Yura Movsisyan started up top with Juan Manuel Martinez and Joao Plata on his wings. Javier Morales and Kyle Beckerman started in midfield. Veterans Jaimeson Olave and Nick Rimando anchored the defense.
The Rapids got the game off on the right foot. Despite not seeing much of the ball in the first half, Gashi got the first goal in the 5th minute. The Rapids had a quick counter started when Kevin Doyle found Dominique Badji at the top of the box. Badji took a touch to control and shot the ball. It was saved by Rimando, but Gashi pounced on the rebound and slotted it far post to score.
RSL responded by continuing to dominate possession and moving the ball quickly. Colorado stayed compact and looked to counter, but couldn’t create many chances the rest of the half.
The home side would get their breakthrough in the 39th minute. They had some excellent build up play that led to Martinez getting the ball at the top of the box. Martinez found a spring Demar Phillips near post, who controlled the ball and found Movsisyan. The center forward redirected the ball into the net with no Rapids defender tracking him.
Real Salt Lake would continue to control play through the rest of the half, which ended 1-1.
Salt Lake finished where they left off in the second half. Movsisyan scored again in the 48th minute when Plata found him at the top of the box. Movsisyan had four Rapids defenders around him, but was able to quickly gather and shoot the ball into the upper 90.
The game slowed down through much of the second half with Colorado continuing to pressure RSL in possession. Salt Lake was able to draw two penalties. First Movsisyan was able to draw a penalty on what appears to be a fall in the box without contact. On a potential hat trick, the striker skied the ball over the bar. Later in the half, Martinez was taken down at the touch line by Eric Miller in a clear penalty situation. Morales stepped up to take the PK, but goalkeeper Tim Howard made the finger tip save.
Colorado was able to create a few chances, but nothing that really challenged Rimando. RSL continued to create chances and shots after the two PK calls, with Howard coming up big time and again.
The match ended 2-1. Real Salt Lake claimed the 2016 Rocky Mountain Cup and how have a 8-4 lead in the 12 year history of the trophy. One of those wins was off of a tied series in 2008 in which RSL kept the trophy having been the most recent winner.
Ultimately, this was the worst defensive performance by the Rapids aside from the blow out loss to New York City FC. Two goals were given up to a striker who should have been marked more carefully. Two PKs were given up. If not for four saves by Tim Howard, it could have been much worse. Even with that, they didn’t create enough chances.
Mastroeni’s side have their work cut out for them going into next week.