Sat, 15 Aug 2020

Slow start on tap as Colorado, RSL end hiatus?

Field Level Media
12 Jul 2020, 07:55 GMT+10

The Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake return to the field on Sunday night when they square off in their first games of the MLS is Back Tournament near Orlando, Fla.

The two clubs are part of the Group D contingent that also includes Sporting Kansas City and Minnesota United FC. The top two finishers in the group advance to the Round of 16 while the other two will hope to advance based on their three-game point totals.

Either way, there isn't time to waste after a four-month halt in play due to the coronavirus pandemic. But a feeling-out period is expected when the Rapids (2-0-0, 6 points) and Real Salt Lake (0-0-2, 2 points) battle at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

"I'm sure there's going to be moments where it's not as pretty as we'd like," RSL defender Justen Glad said during a video teleconference call on Friday. "But I do think that the level will be solid."

RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak is thinking the second half will be more electric.

"As the game goes on and starts to become more open, then I feel like most of the goals will be scored in the second half," Rusnak said during the video call.

Real Salt Lake tallied just one goal in its two early-season matches, playing Orlando City SC to a scoreless draw and New York Red Bulls to a 1-1 tie.

Colorado notched a pair of 2-1 victories over D.C. United and Orlando City before the break.

The Rapids had two players test positive for COVID-19 last month and then had to delay their trip to the Orlando area last Sunday when two players had presumptive positive tests. But those results later came back as negatives and the team was cleared to travel.

Colorado coach Robin Fraser said the coronavirus situation isn't an issue entering the match.

"We will have everyone available to us and certainly we feel like, at full strength that's a great advantage for us," Fraser said during a video conference call. "This is a great thing given some of what we've had to go through."

And now the Rapids are itching to take the field and build on their strong start.

"We've only been playing against each other for a couple of months now," Fraser said. "I think they're excited to get here and actually be in real competition. ... Any opportunity to play is an opportunity to play well."

RSL won both regular-season meetings in 2019.

--Field Level Media

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