COMMERCE CITY, Colorado. In the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup, it looked like Colorado would come out on top.
They played at home while Real Salt Lake were 10 players short and had to start 17-year-old Jaziel Orosco as a central defender. But when the final whistle blew, RSL came out with a point on the road at rivals Rapids.
When the half-time whistle sounded, RSL was leading 1-0. Justin Meram was brought down in the penalty area in the 43rd minute. Pablo Ruiz stepped forward and sent the keeper the wrong way to give Real Salt Lake a 1-0 lead.
However, this lead was short-lived. In the 56th minute, Colorado went on the attack. Michael Barrios sent a low cross to the back post and Lalas Abubakar was there to punch Zac Macmath and level the game to one.
“The results can go either way and tonight the guys really stuck their chests out and kept their heads up,” said Real Salt Lake head coach Pablo Mastroeni. “We really showed very good performances and I couldn’t be happier for everyone.”
RSL didn’t have many chances to score in the game, but in the 76th minute it looked like they had found the winner.
Bode Davis brought out Sergio Cordova in the penalty area, who hit the ball hard but right at goalkeeper William Yarbrough and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Colorado overtook RSL 16-5 with six shots on target compared to RSL’s two.
MacMath made it big for Real, making five saves against his former club.
“It’s always nice to come back to a place where you’ve played. I have many friends on the team and throughout the community,” MacMath said. “Struggling through a lot of adversity like we did tonight is a good point to take home.”
Colorado also controlled possession, having the ball 63 percent of the game, but ultimately couldn’t find a winner. It’s about the 1:1 draw.
RSL (3-1-2) is back at home at Rio Tinto Stadium next week and host Toronto FC on April 9th.