Real Salt Lake Vs Colorado Rapids - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Colorado Rapids could halt their recent poor record against Real Salt Lake
- New Real Salt Lake Manger Freddy Juarez needs more time to find footing
- Younes Namli, the secret weapon for the Colorado Rapids
|What||Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids|
|Where||ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (Bay Lake, Florida)|
|When||Sunday July 12th, 2020 — 10:30 PM ET|
|How to watch||Watch on ESPN here!|
The MLS Is Back tournament is about to get a taste of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
Fought for by rivals Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids each year, the Rocky Mountain Cup is a trophy given to the team with the most points from games played between both sides. In a Florida-based scenario that is vastly different than their usual encounters, Sunday’s group stage battle will not only give both teams a chance for three points for the Cup, but also a good chance to make a strong statement in their MLS Is Back debut.
Real Salt Lake, who have held onto the Rocky Mountain Cup each year since 2009, will be going into the MLS Is Back weekend as the favorites against the Rapids. Under the new leadership of manager Freddy Juarez, RSL will aim to recreate the success that carried them to a third-place finish in the Western Conference table last season.
Colorado Rapids, on the other hand, might not be as much of a pushover as they have been in the past. In spite of their lack of a playoff appearance last season, they appear to be making some progress in early 2020 with their two wins before the MLS season was suspended.
Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids Odds
|Real Salt Lake win||+128|
|Colorado Rapids win||+195|
Odds taken from DraftKings
Given their recent history, Real Salt Lake are the favorites here. A better 2019 season and a five-game undefeated streak against the Rapids alludes to three points. That said, there are some reasons why we shouldn’t count Colorado out just yet.
Colorado Set To End Real Salt Lake’s Streak
Let’s not ignore Colorado’s start to 2020. Although it is a small sample size, they racked up four goals in their two wins. During that same time period, Real Salt Lake only collected one goal in two draws. The Rapids are trending upwards in the attack, and with more goals scored than Real Salt Lake in 2019, there’s reason to believe that they can outshoot their opponents.
But what about defense? Regardless of Colorado’s attacking improvements, it was their porous backline that pushed them out of playoff contention last season.
The good news is that their defense is improving. Sam Vines could develop into one of the best fullbacks in the league and central defender Lalas Abubakar has shown that he still has room to fine-tune his talents.
Freddy Juarez Is Still An Untested MLS Manager
As opposed to signing a big outside hire, Real Salt Lake should be applauded for looking within and bringing on former assistant Freddy Juarez as the team’s new head coach last December. At just 42 years of age, his club put an enormous amount of trust on the former defender who had yet to coach an MLS side.
Juarez has just two games under his belt and should be given time to adapt and to implement his ideas. Although Colorado Rapids manager Robin Fraser has only had a few months head start after being brought on last August, he’s quickly brought on a winning mentality through seven wins in his nine games in charge.
Will Juarez finally get a first Real Salt Lake win of his own? Or will Fraser and his Colorado men continue their upwards trajectory?
Colorado’s Secret Weapon: Younes Namli
If you bring up the name Younes Namli to a casual soccer fan, you’ll likely and justifiably get a shrug in reaction. Sent on loan from Krasnodar earlier this year, there isn’t anything too eye-catching from the resume of the 26-year-old Danish midfielder. Yet, when you watch him play, it becomes obvious that Namli is a game-changer for Colorado. His speed, energy and ball control make him an instant threat as a No.10, and with a goal in just his second game with the club, he seems to already be making an impact.
With Kei Kamara sitting on top as a striker, there is a strong possibility that we can see a thrilling attacking combination with Namli in support.
It’s worth taking a chance here and picking Colorado for the win. The Rapids have a better run of form, an improved defense and an exciting new midfielder in their roster.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast.