The Colorado Rapids play their first road game in the Mountain Time Zone this weekend when they head to Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah to play Rocky Mountain Cup rival Real Salt Lake. Regardless of the records or place in the table, this one is always a big one. Both the Rapids and RSL are about the red line in the Western Conference table, so this game has more going for it (potentially) since the 2013 season when both clubs were playoff teams.
The Goal for the Rapids: Grab a road result.
What to Watch For
1) Tactically Speaking: RSL has the clear advantage here. They have been scoring more goals and are an absolute tyrant at home. Or do they? RSL still has an aging back four and the Rapids have the speed on the wings to get behind them and generate chances. The issue for the Rapids has been being able to take the game to an opponent. In their two wins this year, they needed a 95th minute goal (against LA Galaxy) to grab three points and they struggled mightily to win against a Toronto FC team that was down a man for almost the entire game. And their one road draw, was as ugly as it comes. I don't know if RSL is *that* much better than the Rapids, but the Rapids have yet to show if they are a good team or not.
2) The Rocky Mountain Cup: The winner in this one will go a very long way to securing the cup in 2016. With two games at Rio Tinto this season this is not a *must win* for the Rapids, but it is certainly a *we best not lose this one if we have any hope of keeping the cup* kind of deal.
3) Winless at the RioT: As we pointed out on Friday, the Rapids have not won at Rio Tinto. Ever. Based on injuries, suspensions and players with VISA issues, I do not see this being the match that changes that. Stranger things have happened, but this is going to take a massive effort to grab a result.
Referee: Drew Fischer
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson and Andrew Bigelow
Fourth Official: Tyler Ploeger
Injuries: Colorado--OUT--Sean St. Ledger, John Berner, Kevin Doyle, Jared Watts, Marlon Hairston. Salt Lake--OUT--Phanuel Kavita, Omar Holness, Boyd Okwuonu, Emery Welshman. PROBABLE: Javier Morales, Olmes Garcia, Chris Wingert, Yura Movsisyan. LISTED ON REPORT: Nick Rimando
Suspensions: Colorado: Jermaine Jones
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 9 April 2016 at 7:30 PM MDT
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium--Sandy, Utah
TV Information: Altitude Sports (Richard Fleming and Marcelo Balboa)
Live Stream: MLS Live (Blackouts apply)
Predicted Starting XI
The Rapids are decimated by injuries and this makes picking the Starting XI a bit easier this week (although I will probably be wrong)
Zac MacMath, Marc Burch, Axel Sjoberg, Bobby Burling, Eric Miller, Sam Cronin, Micheal Azira, Shkelzen Gashi, Dillon Powers, Marco Pappa, Luis Solignac
We will have plenty more in this match and check back for our comments, opinion and analysis of the first RMC match of the year.