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Rocky Mountain clash ends in dismal 1-1 draw

Posted on 26 September 2010 by Patrick McShane

It was another fascinating installment of the Rocky Mountain Cup Saturday night, as Real Salt Lake came back in added time to steal a 1-1 draw from the Colorado Rapids. It has been a contentious relationship between both rivals over the years, particularly last season as RSL eliminated Colorado’s playoff hopes on the final match of the season while simultaneously sealing their own playoff dreams. Add to the equation that many key RSL players used to ply their trade with the Rapids, and it makes every meeting between both teams personal and filled with bad blood.

Thanks to the sordid history between both clubs, matches are typically not very entertaining and often end up being a physical, scattered affair. Saturday night was no different, as neither team could get any sort of rhythm early in the match and both were trying to play chances over the top with the long ball. RSL in particular appeared to struggle with their tactics as they fielded a largely unconventional lineup of role players in order to rest their starters for their CONCACAF meeting between Toronto FC on Tuesday. This meant that usual starters Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson, Alvaro Saborío, and Robbie Findley were all watching the match from the bench, while Javier Morales and Jamison Olave weren’t featured in the game day 18.

Because of the lack of cohesion between teammates, the match had little-to-no offensive production, with much of the match being played in the middle of the pitch. While RSL produced a couple of chances early on, it was Colorado that struck first with Conor Casey heading home the opening goal off of a brilliant cross from Kosuke Kimura. While the finish was class and Casey easily beat stand-in center defender Rauwshan McKenzie, the goal was completely against the run of play and surprised both the Rio Tinto fans and RSL. Noted RSL coach Jason Kreis after the match: “I’m pleased with everything except for 15 seconds in the first half when we gave away that goal. I thought that was a play completely against the run of play.”

Hoping that the infusion of typical starters would jumpstart a rally, Kreis inserted Beckerman, Saborío, and Johnson early in the second half. Though these substitutions produced a better looking display of soccer, both teams continued to struggle to create substantial chances in the final third. As regular time came to an end, it appeared that Colorado defender Marvell Wynne committed a blatant handball in the box. While referee Ramon Hernandez initially awarded the penalty kick to RSL, he later changed his call after consulting with his linesman and instead ruled a surprising drop ball. With the reversed call it felt like RSL’s lone chance to earn an underwhelming draw had passed, until Borchers came to the rescue with an unexpected goal off the back of his head to secure the 1-1 draw and the continuity of RSL’s undefeated home streak.

RSL will now turn their attention to a chaotic upcoming schedule, playing 6 matches in 18 days between MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play. While the draw to Colorado is disappointing, the possible positive outcome of resting so many starters could be actualized on Tuesday if RSL were to beat or tie Toronto FC and earn their way into the Championship Stage. “We’re going to put all our cards on the table for [the game in Toronto],” noted Kreis. “I feel like that is the one we have to get a result in to wrap up this Champions League stuff so that we can turn our focus to the Supporters Shield and the playoffs.”

REAL SALT LAKE (13-4-9, 48 pts.) v. COLORADO RAPIDS (10-7-8, 38 pts.)
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2010 – RIO TINTO STADIUM – SANDY, UT

Scoring Summary:
COL — Conor Casey 11 (Kosuke Kimura 1, Brian Mullan 1) 36
RSL — Nat Borchers 1 (Andy Williams 6) 93+

Misconduct Summary:
COL — Conor Casey (caution; Reckless Foul) 10
COL — Marvell Wynne (caution; Reckless Foul) 16
RSL — Pablo Campos (caution; Tactical Foul) 32
RSL — Fabian Espindola (caution; Dissent) 66
RSL — Collen Warner (caution; Dissent) 78
COL — Anthony Wallace (caution; Delaying a Restart) 82

Colorado Rapids — Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace (Scott Palguta 89), Brian Mullan (Wells Thompson 63), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith, Macoumba Kandji (Ross LaBauex 73), Conor Casey. ?

Real Salt Lake — Kyle Reynish, Tony Beltran, Rauwshan McKenzie, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Andy Williams, Jean Alexandre (Kyle Beckerman 56), Collen Warner, Ned Grabavoy (Will Johnson 70), Pablo Campos (Alvaro Saborío 62), Fabian Espindola.

Referee: Ramon Hernandez?
Referee’s Assistants: Ian Anderson; Paul Scott?
4th Official: Yader Reyes?
Weather: Clear and 76 degrees / ?Attendance: 18,317

All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial

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