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Game Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake

The Colorado Rapids are back to regular season play tonight as they take on their biggest rival, Real Salt Lake.

Real Salt Lake v Colorado Rapids - MLS Is Back Tournament Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The Colorado Rapids are back to regular season play tonight as they take on their biggest rival, Real Salt Lake.

This match is especially important because it’s the first round of the Rocky Mountain Cup. The game against RSL in the MLS is Back Tournament did not count towards the RMC, so tonight is game one. In the past, there were three games to decide who got to keep the coveted supporters’ cup, but that changed to two with the expansion teams added to the schedule last year.

The Rapids must take care of business at home tonight to keep the hope of silverware alive this season. Currently sitting in 7th place in the Western Conference, playoffs are not out of the question, but with only six games scheduled, every single one becomes more important than the last.

The Rapids are 10-7-5 against Real Salt Lake at home, with their last win against RSL in 2017. Taking into consideration that Colorado have yet to secure a win in Rio Tinto in Utah, it seems quite clear that the Lions of the Lake have the Rapids number more than any other MLS team.

The red-card suspensions of Kyle Beckerman and Marcelo Silva will be beneficial to the Burgundy Boys tonight. Without Beckerman, RSL will have to change tactics in the midfield and may become a little more open and easier to play through. Former Rapids keeper Zac MacMath had fire in his eyes when he faced the Rapids in Orlando and it is safe to assume that same fire will be there when he returns to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Nothing fuels a player more than facing his former team.

No news is good news coming out of Rapids camp this week. No injuries or covid cases to report and no suspensions listed in the official game guides. That means that coach Robin Fraser has got a lot of choices on how to field his team.

Starting with the keeper situation, will Clint Irwin be back in goal or will we see William Yarbrough get his second start? Will Nicolas Benezet continue to chalk up minutes or has Johnathan Lewis finally earned back his starting spot with the scoring streak that he is on? With three goals in 74 minutes (and 11 goals and 8 assists in roughly 1,800 minutes), Lewis is on people’s radar and has fans wondering why he has not been starting.

What hurt the Rapids in Orlando was inconsistency with the defense. The back four changed with each game—including the keeper—and chemistry matters when it comes to locking down the opponent. With everyone back and healthy, Coach Fraser should be able to rely on the four guys who were getting it done back in March.

Viewing options are out there considering there will be no fans and limited reporter coverage at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Grab some libations and get comfy on the couch or join the supporters at one of the three locations providing viewing parties: Celtic on Market, Frolic Brewing, and Blue Spruce Brewing.

Predicted Starting XI: William Yarbrough, Keegan Rosenberry, Drew Moor, Lalas Abubakar, Sam Vines, Jack Price, Kellyn Acosta, Nicolas Benezet, Diego Rubio, Younes Namli, Kei Kamara


Referee: Fotis Bazakos

Assistant Referees: (bench): Brian Poeschel; AR2 (opposite): TJ Zablock

4th Official: Victor Rivas

VAR: Younes Marrakchi AVAR: Fabio Tovar




Suspended: none

Suspended after next caution: none

Salt Lake



Suspended: Kyle Beckerman, Marcelo Silva

Suspended after next caution: Justin Glad

How to Watch

Match Date/Time: Saturday, August 22nd at 7 pm MT

Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park—Commerce City, CO

TV Information: Altitude on DirecTV or streaming with AT&T

Live Stream: ESPN+ (subscription required, must be outside of the region)*

Watch Party: Celtic on Market, Frolic Brewing Company (Westminster), Blue Spruce Brewing (Highlands Ranch)

*Vox Media/Burgundy Wave has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Burgundy Wave may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links.