Real Salt Lake versus the Colorado Rapids has as much deep-down animosity as any local rivalry MLS can muster.
I'm calling this one 2 -0 for the home team, because the MLS trend for teams at home has been pretty good. Gomez and Gomez with the goals.
Predictions open until kickoff.
Let's go. Kyle Beckerman is starting for RSL, of course, while the guy he was traded for, Mehdi Ballouchy, is on the bench. I've never been really high on Mehdi, myself. He's creative, but a bit delicate. Colorado got the worst of that trade, I think, but they're still ahead of RSL at this point, so perhaps Clavijo is doing something right.
RSL - Nick Rimando (GK) Tony Beltran Kyle Beckerman Nat Borchers Fabian Espindola Kenny Cutler Kenny Deuchar Chris Wingert Dema Kovalenko Matias Mantilla Andy Williams
Rimando reps UCLA's NCAA record championships in his player intro. Tony Beltran reps Claremont, which might be a first in pro sports. Kenny Duechar actually refers to his Dr. Goals nickname, which officially makes him the dorkiest doctor on the field.
Colorado: Bouna Coundoul Facundo Erpen Christian Gomez Omar Cummings Jacob Peterson6 - Herculez Gomez Ugo Ihemelu Nick LaBrocca Colin Clark Pablo Mastroeni Kosuke Kimura
2-Colorado with the early run of play - Herc into the box, but his cross is cut off.
4 - I used to call Jacob Peterson "Blondie" because as a teenager, he was. Now his coif has darkened - he's more sandy-haired than blonde.
5 - Herc shanks a pass. Oddly, he seems to have switched sides since starting the match. His first cross was from the opposite side of the field.
8 - Facundo Erpen lines up an outside shot - but bangs it off the first RSL player in front of him. Weird idea.
10 RSL on the attack, but Beltran gets closed off from making the cross in the box and the ball crosses the goal line.
12- Beltran called for a holding foul, Christian Gomez flicks it to LaBrocca, who fires on goal, but Rimando isn't fooled and stays steady for the catch. RSL on the counter, but Duechar is offside.
14 - Peterson gets on the end of a longball on a counter, shoots far post, but Rimando palms it out for a corner. It's cleared.
15 - Espindola dribbles free for a shot from outside the box. Bouna's got it.
17 - Espindola and Kimura seem to bang legs and are in mutual hurt.
20 - Rapids end a nice little run of RSL possession and attack with a counter that Peterson wastes by not crossing the ball versus Wingert.
21 - Clark with an outside shot Rimando takes care of.
23 - Kovalenko floats a ball into the box, but nat Borcher's first touch fails him utterly and the Rapids clear.
24 - I know Luis loves JP Dellacamera, but JP needs to just call Herculez by that name. It's unclear which Gomez he means half the time, otherwise.
SAVE! The Rapids get a corner off their latest attack and Rimando parries an attempt well. The ensuing corner is cleared.
27 - Yellow for Wingert - tackle from behind Sandy.
28 - I'm also not sure about JP's pronounciation of "Mantilla" - he's saying it Argentine-style, where the double-l sounds like a "j" and it just sounds weird. Ha, Harkes just clarified which Gomez he meant. Just say "Herculez," guys.
29 - Dema runs right out of his shoe on an RSL attack that ends in a Beckerman shot that Bouna collects. Rapids come right back, though, and get a corner. It's cleared.
31 - RSL counter as well, get their own corner. "Man-tee-ja" as JP says, heads it wide.
33 - Mastro cross in box cut off by Rimando.
34 - Andy Williams serves a FK into the box and two RSL forwards miss it.
36 - Sandy and Clark have switched sides. Good team play generates a CK for the Rapids on Clark's side. It's cleared, though.
38 - ESPN interrupts the game to show the Fulham relegation-avoidance-goal. I guess they assume MLS fans care.
41 - I hear cheerleaders, which is a first for me watching MLS games. RSL corner. Bouna caught in a bad position as Duechar heads it down and Kimura dashes in to head ball away from the line. It might have gone wide, but it was a gutsy play by the Japanese defender, who falls into the net and seems a bit shaken up.
45+ - The Rapids have had the better of play, but there's no goal to show for it.
Halftime: The match is ripe for the picking Colorado is playing well, but RSL could steal it.
46 - Rapids on the attack - Christian Gomez leading it.
48 - Duechar offside on his header.
49 - Rapids counter - Clark in the box - but no one latches on to his low cross in front of goal. RSL right back, Williams in the box, but the Rapids defense clears.
52 - Rapids again controlling the play, but the RSL defense is holding and waiting for counter chances.
55 - Ooooh - Herc in the box, lays it back to Sandy, who gets a great cross in to Clark, who for some reason doesn't head it, but tries a Rockets girl high kick and sends the ball over the crossbar while standing right in front of net.
56 - Rimando out of the box clears a long ball with his head. Nifty.
58 - Omar takes on about five RSL players and gets a deep FT. RLS clear, though. RSL won their last game playing ugly. They might pull the trick off again.
59 - Rapids corner. Cleared.
61 - Great play by the Rapids, but missing the finish. Christian to Herc, whose cross goes to Omar, whose shot is wide.
RSL counter - Beckerman wide from distance.
63 - Herc feeds Pablo this time, laying the ball off at the top of the box, but Andy Will with a slight shove gets Mastro off-balance and shot is over the bar.
66 - GOAL! Colorado finally puts it all together! It's pretty as a picture - a planned set up. Herc to Colin Clark, who centers it for Cummings, and Omar connects past Rimando. 1-0 Colorado.
68 - Kries reacts by going to his bench. Robbie Findley ready to come in. Herc on a break, shoots on goal, but Nicky collects. Findley comes in for Kenny Cutlet. Cutler, I mean.
72 - Harkes acknowledges that Herc might be the best Gomez on the night.
73 - Then Harkes fumbles, "keeping the game" when he meant "ball"
74 - JP, meanwhile, is back to saying "Gomez" and not clarifying which one. Just say, 'Herculez'! That's what his jersey says.
75 - Herc with a chance in the box from a Sandy pass sends it wide.
77 - Bouna jumps for a cross, ends up deflecting it for a corner. that was poor. Catch it, Bouna. CK goes to Dr. Goals, who sends his header over the goal.
80 - Findley pressure on Erpen results in a corner, but Williams' service misses all the RSL players in the box.
82 - RSL bringing more energy into the attack. JP actually clarifies, with eight minutes left in the match, that the two Gomez players are not related. Brilliant.
The Rapids aren't the victims this time. Man-tee-jah clearly handles the ball in the box, trying to defend against Herc.
83 - GOAL! Christian takes it, makes it well. Harkes now clarifies that C. Gomez is not related to Herc, in case anyone didn't hear JP. 2-0. Rapids. I was almost right on the goalscorers. Herc certainly contributed to both goals, even if he didn't score.
88- Rapids settle into defensive mode. RSL, to their credit, is still scrapping. Herc is out, and Gomez follows.
90 - Good on ESPN cameramen - they get a shoot of a peeved Christian getting pulled back by Clavijo for a quick word. Interesting dynamics there.
90+ FK close in by Espindola, Bouna dives for it. parries wide. On the corner, he picks the ball off Mantilla's head (and the compliments I gave the ESPN cameras I take back - they missed the shot live) and gets a shove. Slight handbags, but game goes on.
Final whistle. Rapids take the first leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup, cement first place in Western Conference.
Yay! I called the score right. Rapids did well for their home fans, even if there weren't that many of them at the game.