SANDY— When Real Salt Lake take to the pitch this evening, the Claret and Cobalt will be looking to get a result that has seemed unreachable in Denver.
It's also win or no trophy.
"I think that the Rocky Mountain Cup being at stake this week makes it a huge challenge for us to get a win in Denver finally. I don't think we've done it yet, at least since I've been on this team," said veteran RSL defender Nat Borchers. "It's a huge opportunity for us."
RSL manager Jason Kreis will have some reinforcements return to his starting lineup, with the trio of Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando and Tony Beltran all returning from the highly successful Gold Cup. Beltran will be unavailable due to a red card suspension.
The RSL lineup got a huge lift this past week when Alvaro Saborio joined the team from Gold Cup. The Costa Rican managed to net a hat trick in the disappointing loss to New York.
"I think the easiest thing to do is to be negative and get your head down when you have a couple bad results, but lets be honest we've given up six goals, five of those have been set pieces and penalties," said Borchers. "We're going to be able to fix those issues when we're training."
The RSL defense will be tested in Colorado due to the absence of Chris Wingert, who is serving the final game of his two game suspension, and Beltran.
Borchers sympathized for his teammate, a former Rapids defender, but said he was looking forward to Wingert joining up with the team.
"It's always tough to miss games — especially big ones like Colorado, for the rivalry and the fact that Chris played for that club," said Borchers. "I know that if I was out for that game I'd be pretty — tough. I feel for him, and looking forward to having him back in the lineup."
After falling behind early, RSL needed to substitute for offense last Saturday, leaving no defensive substitutions available after they eventually took the lead and were then in a battle try to salvage at least one point on the road. New acquisition Brandon McDonald could be an answer in the back as his fitness has come around in the weeks since being acquired from D.C. United.
McDonald was someone that Borchers dubbed a 'smart' pickup with the injuries and absences happening to the RSL backline.
"I think that it's great to have Brandon. We've had so many injuries in the back that we need some depth back there," said Borchers. "I think it was smart to pick him up, and I'm really looking forward to playing together in the future."
RSL and the Rapids kickoff at 6:30 p.m. with Real needing a win to retain the Suburu Rocky Mountain Cup for the seventh consecutive year. A draw would see Colorado win back the Cup they have missed for the last six seasons.
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