On Saturday April 7th, the Colorado Rapids will play Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. It will be the first meeting in 2012 between the Rocky Mountain rivals. The derby match is also referred to as the Rocky Mountain Cup. Colorado and RSL both currently top the Western Conference (along with San Jose Earthquakes) after impressive starts to the new campaign.
Colorado (3-1) won 2-0 on Sunday evening over Chicago Fire while Real Salt Lake (4-1) won 1-0 in a mid-week match against the Montreal Impact. The Rapids have impressed under a new formation from head coach Oscar Pareja. Colorado also benefited from the debuts of Martin Rivero and Kamani Hill. Real Salt Lake scored an early goal against Montreal and kept the clean sheet as the Utah club ground to a gritty win.
Martin Rivero is expected to start in central midfield as captain Pablo Mastroeni has been ruled out for six weeks. The former World Cup veteran has succumbed to concussion symptoms and has even sought advice from former New England Revolution striker Taylor Twellman, who was forced to retire from multiple concussions.
Colorado's back line of Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor, Marvell Wynne, and Luis Zapata has been solid this season, other than during the 4-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls. A defensive game could potentially be in the works as both teams have battled to close matches in recent years. The winner of this match will have the upper hand in claiming the 2012 Rocky Mountain Cup.