Rapids-Real Salt Lake Preview
By NOEY KUPCHAN
(AP) -- Real Salt Lake managed to walk away with three points despite a poor showing against a weaker opponent in its last game.
Coach Jason Kreis knows his club can't afford to come out with a similar display against the Colorado Rapids.
Playing for the third time in eight days, RSL looks to continue its recent home domination of Colorado when these Western Conference rivals square off Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Just four days after rallying late for a 3-2 win at Portland, RSL (4-1-0) moved into first place in the West with Wednesday's 1-0 victory over winless Montreal. Paulo Jr. scored on a 13th-minute penalty for RSL, which still struggled to put the Impact away.
"That's what matters in the end - you get three points," said goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who had to make just one save. "Sometimes (the games) are ugly and that was definitely the case (Wednesday). Everybody can put their hand up and say they could be better. But what's more important is we got three points."
While a repeat performance against Colorado (3-1-0) could prove costly, Kreis is confident his team will respond following Wednesday's lackluster effort.
"I expect and demand a better effort from all the guys, and I'm quite certain I will get it," Kreis said. "It should be a great game because Colorado is a very good team this year. They are looking quite different than they have over the past several seasons, and maybe it will be a beautiful soccer game."
RSL has compiled a 43-7-20 record on its own field since the start of 2008 and has outscored the Rapids 9-2 in going 4-0-2 in its last six home games in the series.
Colorado, which fell 4-1 at New York on March 25, bounced back with a 2-0 win over Chicago on Sunday. Omar Cummings scored his second goal of the season in the 58th minute before Kamani Hill's tally in added time secured the win.
"I think the result they just had motivates them and gives them credibility in what they are doing," coach Oscar Pareja told the team's official website. "And also what lies ahead - games that are very important in our conference."
The Rapids, whose first four games all came against East foes, begin a stretch of four straight against West teams Saturday. Colorado's nine points are tied with San Jose for second place.
"It starts with our rival, and we know what that game means for the fans and the club and the players," Pareja added.
The Rapids have gone 0-2-4 over their six most recent matchups with RSL overall.
Updated April 5, 2012