COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — For Real Salt Lake, Saturday night's regular-season tilt at Dick's Sporting Goods Park isn't just about taking it to archrival Colorado. It's not even about the fan-created Rocky Mountain Cup, which Real Salt Lake conceded last year for the first time in seven years.
This meeting has the potential to shift the Western Conference standings, and with just over a dozen games remaining in the regular season RSL is hungry for points over the pleasure of defeating its nemesis.
"It's always a great game. The biggest thing by far to me is that we're in the heat of the summer, and every point is just so important at this stage of the season. I'm worried about that," said RSL defender Chris Wingert, who assisted on Joao Plata's goal Wednesday night in a 1-1 draw with New York. "I'm not worried about the Rocky Mountain Cup, or the rivalry or anything like that. I'm just worried about trying to get a good result against a Western Conference team."
The Claret and Cobalt currently sit in second place in the Western Conference with 33 points, while Colorado, Los Angeles and FC Dallas dangerously lurk behind in the final playoff spots — each with 30 points.
RSL midfielder Javier Morales also stressed the importance of earning points from Saturday's match and admitted the Rapids are going to be a difficult opponent in their home arena.
"Colorado is going to be a tough game," said Morales. "We have to win because we need three points and we have to go there and take it to them to win it."
The Rapids are coming off a humbling 3-0 loss against previously struggling New England, which was riding an eight-game losing streak. RSL defender Nat Borchers is excited to head home and excited for the match, but gave heed to those who believe RSL will easily walk away with all three points.
"It's special for me definitely to go back and play in front of my family and friends back home, and for this group I think we have a great rivalry with them," said Borchers. "They have a fantastic team and have been playing well. They dropped their result Wednesday night, but they're going to be fired up and ready to come after it on Saturday and so are we."
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