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Colorado Rapids MatchDay First Look: Real Salt Lake

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Game one of three with our rivals from the other side of the Rockies is this Saturday.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake get together for the first time in 2016 with both clubs looking to erase the memory of a disappointing 2015.  The Rapids are the current Rocky Mountain Cup holders, but the other team from the Rockies will fancy their chances to retake the cup as they host two home matches in 2016.

The Records:

The Rapids are 2-1-1 (7 points) on the season and sit fifth in the Western Conference.  RSL are 2-0-2 (8 points) and are currently third in the Western Conference table.

Formations:

Historically, RSL has run a diamond formation but had been transitioning to more of a 4-3-3 in recent seasons.   That has changed in 2016 as they have been rolling out a 4-2-3-1 with some pretty good success.   The Rapids are wedded to their 4-2-3-1 and despite their scoring issues, they should run with that again this Saturday in Sandy.

Recent Results:

2 August 2014:  0-1 Loss at Dick's Sporting Goods Park

19 September 2014:  1-5 Loss at Rio Tinto Stadium

7 June 2015:  0-0 Draw at Rio Tinto Stadium

11 July 2015:  3-1 Win at Dick's Sporting Goods Park

4 October 2015:  1-2 Loss at Dick's Sporting Goods Park

Basic Statistics

Games Played Win Loss Draw Points Goals For Goals Against Shots Shots on Target
Colorado Rapids 4 2 1 1 7 3 2 63 22
Real Salt Lake 4 2 0 2 8 8 6 42 20

Super Initial Early Thoughts

Honestly, the Rapids could be in for a long night.  RSL has two fewer shots on goal, but in 21 fewer shots total.  They are deadly accurate and have scored 5 more goals than the Rapids.  This has every hallmark of a classic Rapids 'park the bus' kind of match.  Although the Rapids defense is solid (fewest goals allowed in MLS) they are taking on an RSL team that can score at will (second most in MLS).

Can you say rock vs a hard place

The Rapids could look to park the bus in this one.  It just feels like that kind of match as Real Salt Lake are the most offensively potent team they (the Burgundy Boys) have faced.  And with the Rapids being the lowest scoring team in Major League Soccer it seems like the game plan will be sit back and try to absorb pressure.  The problem with that strategy is that the Rapids cannot score goals.  They are averaging less than one a match and RSL is scoring a ton.  I just don't see the Rapids being able to hold on for 90 minutes.

This match will be televised on Altitude at 7:30 PM MDT on Saturday and as it gets closer we will have much more and what to watch for from this game.