Real Salt Lake hope to cure skid with last-place Rapids

Aug 8, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Real Salt Lake forward Cristian Arango (9) moves the ball against Los Angeles FC during the first half at BMO Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Real Salt Lake will try to snap a short losing streak when they host a Colorado Rapids side that has struggled all season on Saturday night in Sandy, Utah.

Salt Lake (10-9-7, 37 points) had been among the hottest teams in MLS prior to a month-long break for the Leagues Cup, going nine league matches without defeat heading into the new tournament.

The Claret and Cobalt then had to wait an extra week to resume play because of a tropical storm that forced a postponement of their Aug. 20 game at the Los Angeles Galaxy.

When they finally hit the field again, RSL lost back-to-back games to the Houston Dynamo — one in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals and one in the league — and then fell 2-1 at the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night. Cristian Arango’s second goal since his summer signing at least made for some late drama.

RSL have already overcome a previous four-match losing streak early on to climb to sixth in the Western Conference table.

“We experienced this six months ago, and we will overcome it, as we overcame it six months ago,” RSL coach Pablo Mastroeni said postgame, through an interpreter. “I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re at home or away, I think when we play our best we’re in every game.”

Colorado boss Robin Fraser admits it’s fair to question his team’s resolve after their latest disappointing result, a 3-0 defeat to Minnesota United.

The Rapids (3-12-10, 19 points) have been shut out a league-worst 15 times this season, including in eight of their last nine matches.

Neither the return to health of 2022 leading scorer Diego Rubio nor the acquisition of Brazilian striker Rafael has helped turn the tide. Four players are tied for the club lead with two goals and only two of them have started more than half of the Rapids’ 25 league matches.

“I am concerned because no matter how many times you can pick out positives and highlight certain things, at the end of the day, we all know that this is a results-oriented business. And to lose again and lose by multiple goals, it’s disheartening,” Fraser conceded after Wednesday’s loss in Minnesota. “So, it’s a valid question. ‘How do we keep the mentality going again?'”

–Field Level Media

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