Real Salt Lake vs. Colorado Rapids, Prediction, Preview, and Odds - 7/24/21
Colorado will be looking to continue a strong month of July when it travels to Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The Rapids are coming off a mid-week win against Dallas and have not lost a match this month. This is an important match for Real Salt Lake, who is currently sitting just outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
Colorado continues to play well
Colorado has been playing good soccer for most of the season, but especially in recent contests. It has not lost a game since June 23, where Sporting Kansas City was too much to handle in a 3-1 final. Since then, the Rapids have gone 2-0-2, playing to draws against Seattle and San Jose. They picked up a 2-0 win over Minnesota and are now coming off a 2-0 win over FC Dallas on Wednesday. Michael Barrios scored his fourth goal of the season in the win over his former club.
The Rapids wrapped up a three-match season series with Dallas, picking up seven points in the three matches. They did not allow a goal in any of those tilts. Dallas did have more possession and led 10-9 in total shots on Wednesday, but only two of those shots were on target. Lalas Adubakar scored his first goal of the season for Colorado, helping his team extend its unbeaten streak to four games. His goal came on a corner kick three minutes after halftime. Barrios was able to double the lead seven minutes later.
Need to rally to make the playoffs
Real Salt Lake could use a full three points as badly as any team in the MLS this week. It enters this match with 17 points on the season, putting it one point back of Minnesota, who currently holds the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Real Salt Lake could jump as high as sixth in the standings with a win. It has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride in the month of July. The team opened with a 1-0 loss to LAFC before bouncing back with a 4-0 win over Vancouver.
It then lost a 2-1 final at LAFC last Saturday, but it played to a 2-2 draw with the Galaxy on Wednesday. Real Salt Lake has only won two matches since May 7—they were both against Vancouver. Wednesday’s match is going to stand out if the club fails to make the playoffs. Real Salt Lake held a 2-0 lead 25 minutes into the match before surrendering goals in the 33rd and 77th minutes. Its home record fell to 2-2-4 with the draw. Albert Rusnak and Maikel Chang were responsible for the first-half goals. The Galaxy finished with a 12-11 advantage in total shots (6-4 SOG).
Pick: (Colorado +0.5)
I think the oddsmakers are giving Real Salt Lake way too much credit in this spot. Sure, some of it has to do with the home-field advantage, but let’s not act like this has been a fantastic home team in 2021. Colorado is clearly the better team on a neutral field and has way more momentum coming into this tilt. The Rapids have a four-match unbeaten streak and have risen up the standings in the Western Conference. Real Salt Lake is coming off a draw, but it is a very disappointing one given the circumstances. It had a great chance at taking all three points before squandering the 2-0 lead.
Total (Under 2.5)
There are several reasons why this is shaping up to be a low-scoring match, but it primarily has to do with Colorado. The Rapids have recorded two shutouts in their last four matches and have only allowed two total goals over that stretch. They are coming off a dominant 2-0 shutout in their last match. Real Salt Lake has been way too inconsistent with its attack for me to trust them on Saturday. This is also a quick turnaround for both teams, so there could be some slow-paced soccer played near the end of this match.