RSL to defend Cups againts Colorado Rapids

By By Tim Haslam and By Tim Haslam

By Tim Haslam

Real Salt Lake will begin defending the Rocky Mountain Cup on Thursday as they take on the Colorado Rapids at Dicks Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
The Rocky Mountain Cup is awarded to the team with the most points between the Rapids and Real Salt Lake regular season MLS head-to-head games. Colorado won the 2005 and 2006 Cups, while Real Salt Lake claimed the season series in 2007.
In the last three seasons, the RMC has been a four-game series between the two rivals. In 2008, only three games will be played, making each game even more valuable to both sides.
Colorado (3-4-0) is currently tied for first with nine points in the Western Conference and is coming off a 2-1 loss to Houston. The Rapids have three quality wins: a 4-0 thrashing of Los Angeles, a 1-0 win against New England and a 2-0 win over D.C. United.
Real Salt Lake (2-3-2) is tied for second in the west with eight points and could claim the top spot with a win against its neighbor. RSL is coming off a 2-1 win over FC Dallas and has typically fared well at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, having won and tied their two games played at the stadium.
The last time RSL and Colorado played, the Rocky Mountain Cup was at stake as the series was tied at four points apiece. In the last game of the 2007 season, RSL notched a 1-0 win to secure the Cup.
The game was scoreless going into the 87th minute before RSL forward, Robbie Findley, scored off a pass from former RSL midfielder Carey Talley, who sent a ball over the top of the defense. Findley ran onto the ball and chipped the ball past Rapids goalkeeper, Bouna Coundoul, for the victory.
This season, Colorado forward Omar Cummings leads the team with two goals. Nine other players have one goal, which will give the RSL defense a handful of problems and forcing it to be mindful of every player on the field.
RSL midfielder and former Rapid, Kyle Beckerman, leads RSL with three goals while forwards Kenny Deuchar and Fabian Espindola each have two goals.
Since the end of April, RSL has won two games and tied another. On the last day of the month, RSL played the 2008 expansion team, San Jose Earthquakes, in a U.S. Open Cup play-in game. RSL won 4-0 to advance to another play-in game versus the Columbus Crew which will be played on May 27.
On May 3, RSL hosted the Los Angeles Galaxy and tied 2-2 after taking a 2-0 lead after 18 minutes. International soccer star and Hollywood local, David Beckham, notched two goals within four minutes to give the Galaxy one point on the road.
On May 10, RSL hosted FC Dallas and won, 2-1. RSL notched the first goal in the 28th minute on a goal by Javier Morales. Dallas answered in the 56th minute with a goal by Kenny Cooper. Beckerman secured the RSL victory with a goal in 73rd minute. Unlike the three previous matches in which RSL surrendered a goal to Dallas in the last 10 minutes to settle for a tie or loss, RSL held on for its second home victory of the season.
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