Colorado Rapids fans were hoping for a happy birthday for forward Nicki Jackson, but everyone’s day went as badly as could be imagined as the Rapids ended the match two men down and lost 6-0 to Real Salt Lake.
The Rapids needed to win by four goals in order to bring the Rocky Mountain Cup back to this side of the Rockies. An early goal and two (count ‘em, two) red cards on the Colorado Rapids took things from bad to worse.
Real Salt Lake wasted no time getting on the board thanks to RSL’s Damir Kreilach in the fifth minute after a poor giveaway by the Rapids in RSL’s attacking third. Joao Plata kept the ball from going over the end line and found Kreilach who poked the ball past Howard. But, this goal came early and the Rapids had plenty of time to recover.
Soon after, the Rapids’ attack looked promising. After pressuring RSL’s backline and earning a corner, some scuffling was going on in preparation for Kellyn Acosta’s corner. Nicki Jackson was shown red (8’) after a soft call that the referee deemed a headbutt.
Even so, the Rapids provided pressure for the next 20 minutes or so. Giles Barnes stood up ready to enter the game in the 27th minute, but no break in the action allowed him to enter. He did enter in the 34th right after Jefferson Savarino scored RSL’s second in the 33rd minute, clearly taking the steam out of the boys in burgundy, knowing how formidable a 2-0 deficit is with 10 men.
Make that nine: Bismark “Nana” Boateng earned a second yellow with a careless challenge in the 45th minute that sent him off. The Rapids go into the locker room at the half down 2-0 and down two men.
The second half started with the Rapids playing a 4-4 and scrambled the entire time. What can one say:
- Jefferson Savarino in the 58th minute.
- Joao Plata in the 69th
- Corey Baird in the 74th
- Albert Rusnák in the 86th
Corey Baird, along with his goal, had two assists on the night for the men from Utah.
Not only was this the worst loss in Rocky Mountain Cup history, this was the worst loss in the history of Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the Rapids. One can only wonder how this game would have turned out if both teams were at full strength. Right now, RSL benefits from a second straight win on the road and some goals that helped them in their playoff run should goal differential come into play.
The Rapids drop to 6-14-6 (24 points). Five of their remaining eight games are on the road. On top of this, next Saturday, the Rapids play a friendly against the Tulsa Roughnecks. The next MLS contest is at Portland on Saturday, September 8 at 8:30 pm. The next home game is against Eastern Conference leaders Atlanta United FC (9/15 at 1:30 pm—note the time!).
Personal P.S. Hats off to the Rapids players who played hard until the very end. More about this in the Takeaways.