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Rapids split points in Utah

September 25, 2010 | 9:17 pm No comments
By Shaun Schafer

Befitting a rivalry, a header at the death gave Real Salt Lake a share of the points with the Colorado Rapids in the first Rocky Mountain Cup game of the season.

The late goal offset a record-setting night for Conor Casey and dashed dreams for the Rapids of taking three points on the road.

Casey set a Rapids record for career goals, breaking a tie with Paul Bravo as he scored his 40th goal for Colorado, in the nervy, rivalry affair at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

Casey’s club record tally was also his 11th goal of the season and broke a tense first half. His score in the 36th minute came as Salt Lake had been the more threatening side. Defender Kosuke Kimura and midfielder Brian Mullan picked up the assist on Casey’s header.

‘Keeper Matt Pickens had a particularly busy game for the Rapids as he made seven saves, several of the spectacular type. Marvell Wynne, who picked up a yellow card in the 16th minute, also seemed to be in the middle of every Salt Lake attack as the defense chased Fabian Espindola and others.

For long periods after Casey’s goal, Salt Lake peppered the Rapids goal area. The storm seemed to rise as Alvaro Saborio and Kyle Beckerman came on in the seond half.

Still, the Rapids looked like they were going to escape as the victors, especially as an apparent handball call was reduced to a dropball late in the match.

Ultimately, however, defender Nat Borchers provided the equalizer in the third minute of second half stoppage time. With Real Salt Lake throwing everyone forward, Borchers headed home a cross from Andy Williams to keep Salt Lake’s home unbeaten streak alive.

With the tie, the Rapids moved to 10-7-8 (38 points) on the season and clung to the eight playoff spot. Salt Lake moved to 13-4-9 (48 points) and two points behind the LA Galaxy for first in the Western Conference .

No Omar: With Omar Cummings troubled by what the club called a “slight ankle sprain” suffered in last week’s 3-0 win against the New England Revolution, Macoumba Kandji got the start up top for the Rapids.

Yellow Alert: Along with Wynne, Casey picked up a yellow card in the 10th minute for a reckless foul. Real’s Pablo Campos picked one up in the 32nd minute for a hard foul on Pablo Mastroeni. This was surprising, only because I would have picked Mastroeni as the first one to go into the book. Espindola picked up a warning in the 66th minute for dissent after an offsides call. RSL’s Collen Warner picked up one for dissent in the 78th minute. Rapids rookie Anthony Wallace picked up a yellow in the 83rd minute for delaying a restart as the Rapids tried to kill off the game.

Rapids 11: Pickens, Kimura, Wynne, Moor, Wallace (Palguta, 92nd minute), Mullan (Thompson, 63rd minute), Larentowicz, Mastroeni, Smith, Kandji (LaBauex, 73rd minute), Casey.

Real’s 11: Reynish, Wingert, Borchers, McKenzie, Beltran, Grabavoy (Johnson, 70th minute), Alexandre (Beckerman, 56th minute), Warner, Williams, Espindola, Campos (Saborio, 62nd minute).

Next Up: The Rapids have a quick turnaround. The team faces the Philadelphia Union at home on Wednesday night. The Union crushed Chivas USA 3-0 on Saturday.

This game is followed by an Oct. 2 home match against D.C. United. Six points from these two matches should be enough for the Rapids’ first playoff spot since 2006.

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