In the 2018 finale of the Rocky Mountain Cup competition contested between the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake, RSL dominated from the start. After the visitors took initial 1-0 lead following a goal from Damir Kreilach (6’), Colorado’s woes were compounded with two red cards issued to Niki Jackson and Bismarck “Nana” Boateng. Against a nine-man Rapids side, Real Salt Lake cruised with five more goals including a brace from Jefferson Savarino to take home a 6-0 win and the Rocky Mountain Cup.
Here are a few takeaways from Colorado’s 6-0 loss to RSL.
On the Record
Colorado was on a decent run of form entering the match, despite the latest result being a 2-0 loss to LAFC. But Saturday’s performance in a blowout by their fiercest rivals were a stark reminder that the Anthony Hudson era in Colorado has been rife with disappointment and club record marks for futility.
Colorado’s 6-0 loss at home set additional records on Hudson’s watch, marking the worst margin of loss by Colorado in the history of the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry and Colorado’s worst margin in a loss at home.
The Rapids head coach rightfully started his postgame press conference with an apology to fans saying,
“First of all, I have to apologize to the fans. They’ve been fantastic all season, especially at home. This was such a big game, such an important game. We went into this game prepared, off the back of a really good run, performing well, really confident. We knew how important this was to the fans. Coming away after the result, it’s not what they deserve. We apologize, we can win this come next season. Not a good night for us.”
Needing a 4-0 win to secure the Rocky Mountain Cup, the Rapids quickly saw their hopes for the rivalry trophy evaporate with Damir Kreilach’s early goal.
Things went from bad to worse as Rapids striker Niki Jackson, making his first professional start on his 23rd birthday, was sent off for violent conduct. Jackson was shown attempting to headbutt RSL forward Albert Rusnák during set piece opportunity and was given a straight red for violent conduct.
— Rapids Republic (@RapidsRepublic) August 26, 2018
Although a far cry from Zinedine Zidane’s famed headbutt of Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Final, referee Ted Unkel’s call was correct to the laws of the game and was a clear lapse in judgement from Jackson.
Just before the half and after Colorado conceded a second goal, Nana Boeteng was also sent off for a reckless studs-up challenge on Brooks Lennon at knee level.
This call was also correct, and not only a lack in judgement from Boateng, but a clear dangerous play from the Rapids midfielder.
“It’s not the result that we wanted,” said Rapids midfielder Kellyn Acosta post-game. “Credit to Salt Lake, they came in and took care of business. We went down a goal early, went down a man early, and it’s hard to backtrack and try to find the game. The second red card defeated us in the sense that we were chasing bodies and shadows around the field. It’s a game to learn from and we have to move forward.”
Scottish centerback Danny Wilson continues to be a disappointing signing for Colorado, especially considering his marketed pedigree of experience from the Scottish Premiership and English Premier League.
Rapids fans have borne witness to different instances of poor positioning, judgement, and ball watching from the 26-year-old Scotsman all season.
Live shot of Danny Wilson? pic.twitter.com/Vhdf58pwoK
— xoxo, uzworm (@uzworm) August 20, 2018
But this time around, National pundits took note.
Wilson was culpable on the opening goal while the game was still and 11v11 affair, but continued to show lack of effort in the game as Colorado eventually went down to nine men and RSL scored five more goals.
The poor play from Wilson this season, combined with the current injury to centerback Axel Sjoberg, brings into question Colorado’s current depth at central defense, along with the decisions this season to jettison viable depth options in Jared Watts and Eric Miller, who were traded to Houston and Minnesota, respectively.