Rapids fight back to draw 2-2 at Rio Tinto, but RSL win 2022 Rocky Mountain Cup

SANDY, Utah – It was MLS after dark at Rio Tinto Stadium. Real Salt Lake played Colorado Rapids to a wild game for the 2022 Rocky Mountain Cup.

Rapids fight back to draw 2-2 at Rio Tinto, but RSL win 2022 Rocky Mountain Cup

The first half was riddled with missed chances. Gyasi Zardes had two headers on corners that went straight at goalkeeper Zac MacMath. In the 23rd minute, MacMath had trouble collecting a ball inside the six yard box. Zardes nearly had a tap in, but MacMath was able to secure the ball. Max Alves had an open look from the middle of the box towards the end of the half, but he put the ball wide of the post.

RSL had several close calls in the first half as well. Justin Meram, who subbed in for Anderson Julio who picked up an injury, had several looks. Pablo Ruiz nearly curled a ball inside the top corner.

Jefferson Savarino made it 1-0 in the final minute of first half stoppage time. He cut inside with space in front of him and picked out the far bottom corner to beat goalkeeper William Yarbrough.

Meram made it 2-0 six minutes into the second half. Pablo Ruiz put a free kick off the crossbar. Meram beat Keegan Rosenberry to the rebound, heading it into an open goal.

Salt Lake swarmed the visitors in the following minutes, but Colorado would score next. Substitute Michael Barrios drew a penalty on Marcelo Silva in the 65th minute. Diego Rubio took the penalty, sending MacMath the wrong way to make it 2-1.

In the final minutes, Lalas Abubakar scored his third goal of the year. Similar to last week, he got open on a set piece and volleyed the ball across goal to score. The match ended 2-2. Real Salt Lake retained the Rocky Mountain Cup for 2022 as the teams were even on points (2-2, two draws), having won it in 2021.

Three Key Takeaways:

Zardes approaching bust territory: Gyasi Zardes has not been good for the Rapids. He had two good looks and one great chance in this game. He should have had at least a goal. His misses cost his team a win.

RioT drama: This was technically a rare draw for Colorado in Utah. The goals flowed and there was drama. Given how the game started and ended, it was pleasant surprise for the Rapids, despite losing out on the cup.

Pablo vs. Colorado: This is the first full season for Pablo Mastroeni as head coach of RSL. To win the Rocky Mountain Cup, albeit tied on points and winning as a result of being defending champions, had to feel good against the team he played at and got his coaching career started.

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