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Game Recap: Real Salt Lake 4, Colorado Rapids 1

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RSL smokes Rapids in first game of the Rocky Mountain Cup.

John A. Babiak - @Photog_JohnB

Week one of the next phase of the MLS restart began for the Colorado Rapids tonight under smoky warm conditions. A lineup with a few surprises began this latest 6-game stretch and first match at home since early March: Diego Rubio, Danny Wilson, Nicolas Mezquida, and Jonathan Lewis all featured in the Colorado starting 11.

The Rapids quickly showed they were ready to put pressure on RSL’s backline in the first five minutes. Younes Namli made a pair of nice runs in possession from the right side, eventually finding Kellyn Acosta for a shot in the box that was blocked and went to Mezquida, who went just wide with his effort.

RSL’s only real decent chance came in the 18th minute as Justin Meram, who came on for an injured Douglas Martinez Jr, snuck a low shot past Sam Vines to the near post forcing William Yarbrough into a reaction save.

Colorado’s Lewis started finding space down the left side after 25 minutes with two good possession runs allowing him to put in crosses to Mezquida and Rubio but none resulted in shots on target. Namli’s time on the ball once again paid dividends in the 38th minute as his nice hesitation carry froze the defender. He slipped a low through-ball dummied by Lewis to Rubio, whose composed move got his defender to ground and allowed his blast to be deflected far post for the 1-0 halftime lead.

The second half started calmly, but with Colorado getting a bit sloppy in possession in their half, RSL was able to push up and get on the front foot a bit too much. In the 57th minute, Damir Kreilach found himself unmarked on the right side and unleashed a blast from 30 yards into the upper 90 for the equalizer.

That woke the Rapids up a bit as they started to hold possession through Namli and Lewis, easing the workload on defending. Andre Shinyashiki came on as a 70th-minute substitute to try and push the attack more in Colorado’s favor once again.

However, in the 74th minute, a rare miscue by Yarbrough inside the penalty area cost Colorado. Sliding out a bit too far off his line, the Rapids keeper missed grabbing the ball and RSL’s Chang easily put away the sitter with only one defender on the goalmouth for the 2-1 lead.

Younes Namli narrowly missed equalizing for home side in the 80th minute as he took a chance on a rocket from distance only to watch it carom off the left post away from the RSL goal.

The Rapids finally saw their chances come to an end in the 85th minute as RSL snuck another close-range shot past Yarbrough. Corey Baird pounced on a ball inside 12 yards and slammed in the RSL’s third of the night ending any hopes for Colorado. A late cross to Meram at Colorado’s far post was volleyed in front point-blank range as the Rapids were pushing forward in numbers. A tough second half became ugly as the clock ran out.