RSL faces rival Colorado in home opener

For Real Salt Lake (0-1-1) the chance to come home is especially nice, considering the new MLS expansion team has been on the road for the first two weeks of its inaugural season.

A big walk-up crowd (the Utah Youth Soccer Association has suspended all Saturday play for the occasion) totaling more than 25,000 are expected to converge on Rice-Eccles Stadium for RSL’s historic home opener and the first installment of the Rocky Mountain Cup, a best-of-four annual regional cup competition between Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids.

They come home to face the Rapids (0-0-1), a team beset by a new head coach (Fernando Clavijo for Tim Hankinson) and more than a few new roster moves. The Rapids are led by Mark Chung and new acquisition Jeff Cunningham (one goal apiece) and by U.S. national team regulars Pablo Mastroeni, Nat Borchers, Richie Kotschau and Joe Cannon.

Cunningham is listed as questionable for Saturday, however. Englishman Terry Cooke, a midfielder, may also see time for the Rapids, having completed his visa requirements to re-enter the United States. Jamaican Wolde Harris should start in place of Cunnningham.

All of the recent acquisitions are expected to bolster a sagging offense that scored 0.91 goals per game last season.

MLS veterans Chris Henderson and Mark Chung will man the

midfield along with Mastroeni, who is seeing his first MLS action this season. The always-reliable Colorado defense is healthy and ready to go, manned by Israeli Guy Melamed, Borchers and Kotschau. Cannon is the team’s No. 1 goalkeeper.

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