The Colorado Rapids (3-1) and Real Salt Lake (4-1) meet for the first time in 2012 on Saturday at at Rio Tinto Stadium, and the game will mark the renewal of an intense rivalry otherwise known as the Rocky Mountain Cup series. The Rapids have developed a slim 8-7-7 advantage in the series since it began in 2005, season when the series began, but most of those victories were front-loaded into the infant stages of the RSL franchise. Rapids midfielder and captain Pablo Mastroeni suffered a head injury against the Columbus Crew at the beginning of the season, so Martin Rivero is expected to start in his place at central midfield against Real Salt Lake.
The staff at SB Nation's Real Salt Lake Blog, RSL Soapbox, has their eye on the matchup between midfielders Kyle Beckerman vs. Jeff Larentowicz:
Kyle's hard work and dedication to doing what was needed allowed him to become a quick leader on the team that was in transition and those things also quickly had the RSL fans who hated him just weeks before the trade starting to become fans of KB5. Kyle has become one of the iconic players in MLS with his dreads but also his bulldog attitude on the pitch, while being very laid back off of it, all have played into his success at RSL that has made him a star in MLS and gotten him back on the USMNT.
I was shocked and amazed that the hardworking Larentowicz was traded by New England, his partnership in their midfield with Shalrie Joseph was one of the keys to their success, but it was an injury to Matt Reis that forced a trade that sent Jeff to Colorado and I think his career has rocketed since then. I was a bit concerned that with Pablo Mastroeni he might get lost in the shuffle but instead their partnership I think helped both of them reach new heights on the pitch, lifting MLS Cup in 2010 had to be a sweet bit of revenge for Jeff as he was never able to do with the Revolution.
Location: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
Game Day And Time: Saturday, April 7, 2012, 7:00 p.m. MT
TV: DISH Network Ch 457 (SD) and DirectTV Ch 680 (SD) / 680-1 (HD), Tape delayed on Altitude TV at 10 pm MT.
RADIO: MHS1510 AM / 93.7 FM & ESPN Deportes 87.7 FM
For more on this Rocky Mountain Cup derby and analysis on Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake, check out Burgundy Wave and RSL Soapbox.