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Shorthanded Colorado heads to Salt Lake for the Rocky Mountain Cup's first leg

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HATERS GONNA HATE
HATERS GONNA HATE

Now here's another game that was a lot more exciting to talk about a couple of weeks ago, before the Pablo Mastroeni and Conor Casey injuries left the Colorado Rapids a bit floundering, losing 3-0 to Dallas and not looking particularly good while doing so. Injuries aside, Colorado is one of the few teams that has shown the ability to play Real Salt Lake to a fierce battle each and every time the two teams play. Both games against the Royals last year ended in draws which were forced by Salt Lake, taking away a Rapids lead at literally the last second.

Salt Lake remains the best team in the league and the best team at home in the history of the league, as they haven't dropped a game at Rio Tinto in well over a year in any competition. Colorado hasn't really shown themselves on the road, with a 1-1-0 record right now. Their loss was to a ferocious Dallas team and their win was against a weak Chivas team, albeit with Colorado starting their second string up top with both Conor Casey and Omar Cummings out that week. With Pablo missing from the line-up, it's likely that we'll see a 4-4-2 with Jamie Smith taking on a role that we don't usually see out of the Rapids, creative attacking central midfielder. Time will tell if that experiment will work, considering what a disaster the Joesph Nane experiment was.

Baldomero Toledo will be doing the refereeing tonight, which means that somebody is going to feel some pain in this match, we just won't be sure who until the game is over. Toledo's last vintage showing was last week where he awarded 3 red cards and a Penalty kick. We can only imagine how he plans to top himself this time around.  

It may take a bit of luck - or a bit of Toledo magic - if the Rapids want to have any chance of going into Rio Tinto and taking any points from their Rocky Mountain rivals. At this point, getting a draw would have to be considered a win for the Rapids, especially since that would make getting the Rocky Mountain Cup back a much easier task for themselves near the end of the year at Dick's.

UZ'S PREDICTION: 3-1 Salt Lake