It’s been more than four months since we last saw the Colorado Rapids take the pitch and after starting the season undefeated, expectations were high going into tonight. Throughout the MLS is Back Tournament, it’s been obvious that while everyone is hungry to finally play some soccer, players are anywhere from a little rusty to a lot rusty.
The Burgundy Boys found themselves in the “a lot rusty” group in the first half.
While the first few minutes started out somewhat evenly, Real Salt Lake took over the game and dominated the Rapids for the majority of the first half. After continuous pressure, RSL’s Albert Rusnak got a rebound past Clint Irwin’s fingertips and Drew Moor’s legs to put RSL up 1-0 in the 27th minute.
The Rapids started playing a little better towards the end of the first 45, getting the ball into RSL’s half consistently and earning a couple of set pieces. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to do anything with the opportunities and went into halftime down 1-0.
Colorado came out looking much better in the second half and maintained possession in RSL’s half, but weren’t doing much with it or getting any shots off.
In the 70th minute, Lalas Abubakar let a pass from the wing go by and Irwin had to meet the ball with RSL’s Douglas Martinez crashing in. Irwin took out Martinez, got the yellow, and RSL was awarded a penalty kick.
Unfortunately, a few minutes later, Damir Kreilach took a shot low and hard from around the 20-yard line and put RSL up 2-0.
At the final whistle, RSL took all three points from both sides’ first Group D game of the tournament. This was the worst effort we’ve seen from the Burgundy Boys in recent games, but I have to believe they will shake the rust off and get it together and we’ll see a much-improved squad on Friday against Sporting Kansas City. At least SKC will be without their starting keeper, Tim Melia, who earned a straight red card tonight against Minnesota United.