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Real Salt Lake Remains Home Saturday for Rocky Mountain Cup Match

May 17, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Real Salt Lake News Release

HERRIMAN, Utah - Real Salt Lake (7-2-4 / 25 points / 1st West) remains at America First Field this weekend against Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado (6-4-3 / 21 points / 4th West), RSL seeking revenge for its lone home loss this season and looking to extend the 2024 fan-created Cup series. Kickoff Saturday against the Rapids is at 7:30p MT, available on Apple TV+ / MLS Season Pass, with Max Bretos and Brian Dunseth (ENG) and Jorge Perez-Navarro and Marcelo Balboa (SPN) on the call.

First-place RSL - led by Captain Chicho Arango and his 11 goals / 7 assists in 13 MLS games thus far - improved to 4-1-1 at home this week with Wednesday's 2-0 win over visiting Seattle Sounders FC, riding another Andrés Gómez game-winning goal, a goal and an assist from playmaker Diego Luna and the first home victory and clean sheet for teenage goalkeeper Gavin Beavers. Newcomer Matt Crooks and centerback Brayan Vera also notched assists as Gómez upped his 2024 tally to five goals & four assists behind Chicho, while Luna improved his season-long scoresheet tally to two goals and six assists.

RSL rides an active nine-game unbeaten run (six wins, three draws) dating back to March 9 at home, a stretch that has seen Major League Soccer's second-staunchest defense (Cincinnati, 10 goals allowed) notch five clean sheets. During the current MLS run, RSL has outscored opponents 17-6, scoring first in six of the nine matches and hammering home four game-winning goals in the final 15 minutes of matches.

Real Salt Lake v. Colorado Rapids - MLS Matchday 15

America First Field - Sandy, Utah

Saturday, May 18, 2024 - 7:30p MT

2023 Records: Real Salt Lake (14-12-8, 50 pts, 5th West MLS); Colorado Rapids (5-17-12, 27 pts, 14th West MLS)

Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado is the lone visitor to win in Sandy this season, overcoming second-year MF Emeka Eneli's first-ever professional goal for a 2-1 win back on March 9. Eneli is the lone RSL player to have played every one of 1,170 minutes thus far this season, joined by both Captain Chicho Arango and versatile back Andrew Brody to have appeared in all 13 MLS contests.

The active run to the top of the Western Conference table places RSL there for its latest first-place bragging rights in the calendar since April 30, 2016, and the latest solo No. 1 in the West since August 2013. This week's back-to-back contests are just the second and third of four America First Field matches for RSL from mid-April to mid-June, the Claret-and-Cobalt playing eight of 12 away from home during that span, including next week's trip to Dallas and a midweek rematch at Seattle prior to a June 1 home match against Austin FC. RSL will then enjoy a much-needed early June bye weekend prior to again traveling to Montreal and Kansas City on June 15/19 to wrap up the circuitous gauntlet.

The active nine-game MLS unbeaten run is the fourth-longest in RSL's 20-season history, trailing last year's 11-game streak across three competitions, as well as a 16-game run from 2013 into 2014, and a Club-record 18-game unbeaten streak from July 2010 to April 2011. For the first time ever, RSL now owns back-to-back seasons with unbeaten runs of nine games or longer.

Real Salt Lake's recent three-game MLS win streak - snapped Saturday at LA Galaxy with the 94th-minute concession on the last kick of the game - was the Claret-and-Cobalt's first in nearly two years. RSL last strung together three straight victories in league action in both May and March of 2022; RSL also had three such streaks in the 2019 season. However, RSL has not had a three-game win streak involving two road victories - as the recent run did - since August, 2018.


RSL and Colorado compete in three MLS reg. season matches this season for the fan-created Rocky Mountain Cup. Back on March 9, Colorado won 2-1, RSL unable to capitalize on Emeka Eneli's first-ever professional goal and a solid performance by teenage goalkeeper Gavin Beavers. That Rapids win was the Colorado club's first on Utah soil since 2020, and its first on Utah soil with fans in the stands since 2007 - SEVENTEEN years prior.

All time, RSL and Colorado have played 60 games across all competitions - 57 in MLS play and three in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Overall, RSL has won 30, lost 18 and tied 13 matches against Pablo Mastroeni's former side, outscoring the Rapids by 31 goals overall. The teams' first-ever meeting was also RSL's inaugural home game, famously won 1-0 on a Brian Dunseth header in a game that also included Mastroeni, Kyle Beckerman, Nat Borchers, Clint Mathis and several others who have worn both the Claret-and-Cobalt and the Burgundy-and-Blue.

RSL has been dominant on the Wasatch Front, with 17 wins, 6 losses and 7 draws, winning 14 Rocky Mountain Cups in the last 19 years. In suburban Denver, RSL has won 11 games, lost 12 and drawn six, with RSL winning the lone neutral-site match played during the pandemic bubble in 2020, a 2-0 victory in Orlando.

Should the teams tie Saturday or see an RSL win, this year's Rocky Mountain Cup will be decided on July 20, with RSL pursuing its 15th RMC in 20 seasons.


When Chicho Arango finds the scoresheet, as he has in 10 of 13 MLS matches this year, RSL owns six wins and three draws against one loss, the Claret-and-Cobalt failing to score at Miami Feb. 24 and April 13 v. Columbus, with Chicho's assist on an Emeka Eneli goal back on March 9 coming in a loss to Colorado.

Chicho provided a three-goal explosion in a 21-minute span in the Utah side's come-from-behind 3-1 home win over St. Louis on March 30, the Club's first hat trick since September 17, 2018 (Damir Kreilach). Chicho's three-goal performance is just the seventh in RSL's now 627-game MLS history, the Colombian joining Alvaro Saborio (three hats - two in 2012, one in 2013), along with Robbie Findley (2009), Javier Morales (2014) and Kreilach. Former Captain, head coach and current Club director Jason Kreis also had a hat trick, albeit in the 2005 U.S. Open Cup.

Arango now has two hat tricks in his MLS career - his first was for LAFC in late 2021 against Dallas - and boasts 110 goals as a professional, including 54 goals in 88 games across all competitions since arriving in MLS for LAFC and RSL. Since appearing on the Wasatch Front last July, Chicho boasts 19 goals and nine assists in 31 MLS reg. season appearances for the Claret-and-Cobalt, with those numbers increasing to 21 goals and 11 assists in 36 RSL games across all competitions (incl. Leagues Cup, Open Cup, Playoffs).


Two RSL players - MF Emeka Eneli (1170) and FW Chicho Arango (1145) - have played nearly every minute of the Club's 13-game MLS season so far in 2024, with only second-year man Eneli perfect from a minutes standpoint. DF Andrew Brody (1022) did not start twice this season, but has appeared in every match. Now-injured DF Bode Hidalgo (hamstring) is one of four players to have appeared in 12 league games, missing just one game this year - joining Anderson Julio, Braian Ojeda and Andrés Gómez.

Justen Glad, Matt Crooks, Diego Luna and Fidel Barajas have each appeared in 11 of 13 MLS contests thus far, with a heavily-congested May/June continuing this week.

75 DAYS AWAY FROM LEAGUES CUP OPENER: On August 1, RSL kicks off its participation in the 2024 Leagues Cup, the second year of the 47-team, 78-game tournament, with three CONCACAF Champions Cup berths on the line. RSL is grouped with a road tilt away at Houston Dynamo (MLS) on August 5, with the home opener on August 1 against Atlas CF (MEX) match at America First Field in its West 2 group, with single-elimination knockout games to follow leading up to an August 25 title match.

Based on last year's fifth-seeded West finish (14W-12L-8T, 50 points, 48 GF / 50 GA), RSL will be grouped with both Houston and Liga MX side Atlas F.C. in Leagues Cup 2024 this July ... RSL last faced Atlas in the 2022 Leagues Cup "Showcase" match in Utah, dropping a 1-2 decision despite former DF Aaron Herrera's wondergoal from 65 yards away over the retreating goalkeeper.

Due to the new for 2024 Leagues Cup seeding formula, RSL will once again travel to Houston for a group stage LC match in addition to its two MLS reg. season games against the Dynamo, with RSL now winless in its last six games against Houston - all last year - across all competitions. Prior to the active six-game streak without a win against the South Texas side, RSL had seen great success against the Dynamo, which defeated RSL for the first time in 11 games dating back to 2017 in last year's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semifinal.

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