Just three weeks after meeting for the first time in the 2013 season, Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids will renew acquaintances at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday for the latest installment of the Rocky Mountain Cup.
The first meeting between the two clubs this season ended in a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium thanks to Alvaro Saborio's equalizer 10 minutes from time.
The home team has not lost in Rocky Mountain Cup action since 2007 when Real Salt Lake knocked off Colorado with a 1-0 win at DSG Park.
It has been and up-and-down start to the 2013 campaign for Real Salt Lake. The Claret and Cobalt opened the season with a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes before falling to D.C. United at RFK Stadium. They rebounded with the draw to Colorado, but followed that up with a 2-0 loss at FC Dallas.
Now, after earning a 2-1 defeat of Seattle Sounders FC last weekend, RSL will be looking to claim points in back-to-back matches for the first time this term. The form of Javier Morales could be a key factor is helping the club achieve that feat.
"We know how valuable Javier is," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "We know how gifted he is with the ball. We know that if we want to be an elite club in this country and in this league we are going to need a player like Javier Morales to make differences. So it's good to have him back on track and moving forward."
Colorado, meanwhile, is still searching for its first win of the new season. The Rapids were well-positioned to claim three points last time out as they held a two-goal advantage in the second half, but the Portland Timbers stormed back to earn a 2-2 draw.
The Rapids are one poor result away from equaling their worst start to a season. The club's worst opening came in 2003 when they began the campaign with a winless record of 0-5-1 through the first six matches.
In order to prevent that from happening, Colorado will rely heavily upon Dillon Powers and Edson Buddle.
Powers, the 11th overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, scored his first professional goal against Portland last weekend, hitting an absolute scorcher into the upper corner from distance.
Buddle, a seasoned MLS veteran, made his Rapids debut last weekend but is still regaining his sharpness as he makes his way back from knee surgery.
"I felt like it was my first game back," said Buddle in measurement of his progress. "A little unfit, not as explosive, repetitive running as I'd like to do. I think the guys behind me did a great job of filling on the space for me, the ground I couldn't cover."