Three months ago, the Rapids traveled to Salt Lake City to take on their Rocky Mountain Cup rivals in a match that saw goalkeeper Tim Howard get sent off in the twentieth minute for handling the ball outside the box. The defensive struggle that ensued ultimately gave way to three Real Salt Lake goals in the game’s final ten minutes.
This week, the Rapids have a thirst for vengeance against their cross-state competition as the side returns to Salt Lake.
“There was a horrible feeling after the first game because we absolutely controlled the game [before Howard was sent off],” Colorado Manager Anthony Hudson explained to media on Tuesday. He went on to say the first result “has given everyone a lot more focus and energy,” in advance of Saturday’s match.
“We felt if we had kept eleven men on the pitch we’d have gone on to win that game,” Colorado central midfielder Jack Price said, echoing his manager’s remarks. “We’re very confident going into this next game – that we’re going to go there and get revenge on [RSL].”
Price is hardly alone in his faith that Colorado can leave Salt Lake with a positive result.
“We’re going into this game very confident – it’s just a matter of us executing the game plan,” Rapids Captain Tim Howard concurred, “we know that the Rocky Mountain Cup is at stake, it’s something that we’ve set our sights on.”
Though the Rapids find themselves in eleventh place in the Western Conference and twelve points behind the red line, the veteran goalkeeper assured supporters that “three points” against Salt Lake “means we’re still in the hunt.”
The optimism brewing in the Colorado locker room is not entirely misplaced. Real Salt Lake have begun to slow down following a hot start and the club has only managed two wins from their last eight matches in all competitions – a run of form that is equal to the Rapids’ results in their previous eight attempts (2-4-2).
Despite expressing confidence in his squad’s ability to garner a result on Saturday, Hudson also took the time to address the Rapids’ poor results on the season.
The English manager explained that the pressure for results has made Saturday’s matchup “even more important” to the club. “We all know it’s not gone well. Bottom line: we haven’t been good enough.”
“Good enough” is certainly far from where the Rapids stand on the season, but a road victory against an arch rival would certainly improve the mood around Denver.
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