HERRIMAN — Real Salt Lake's next road match against the Colorado Rapids Saturday night will be crucial to stay in playoff positioning.
RSL jumped to fourth place in the standings this week after a record-setting performance from midfielder Albert Rusnak. After being down 1-0 at halftime, Rusnak came off the bench to score two goals in stoppage time to grab the 2-1 win.
The goal that was scored in the 94th minute of the match was voted goal of the week on MLS.com. Rusnak was also named to the MLS Team of the Week.
"The win is important more than anything else — second win on the road with so many games, that's not good enough but at this stage of the season we’ll take it," Rusnak said. "We just have to take that kind of performance into Colorado for next week."
RSL currently sits in fourth place in the West with an 11-5-10 record and Colorado sits at 11th place with a 6-6-13 record. More is on the line for this match for the Claret and Cobalt. With just eight matches left in regular season play, every performance counts.
"The extra incentive for us is a different scenario, you know, we're in fourth place right now is to hopefully stay in fourth place and hopefully climb higher," said head coach Mike Petke. "It's a tight race right now and the only incentive for us is there are eight games left to stay in the picture."
RSL has won just two road matches this season out of 13 for one of the worst road records in the West. However, the Colorado Rapids surpass them with winning just one road match this season.
This is the third road match in 11 days for RSL, and with a struggling away record they will have to bring the fire again like they did against Houston.
The last time the two teams met in July at Rio Tinto Stadium, the match resulted in a 2-2 draw and the Rocky Mountain Cup remained unclaimed. Although claiming the cup is on the agenda, RSL is more focused on gaining three points to continue to rise in the playoff standings.
"We know it's going to be extremely tough," said team captain Kyle Beckerman. "It's getting to the point where this is one of the only things left that Colorado has to play for is this cup so they're going to extremely focused they're going to be high intensity."
According to the MLS website, Nick Rimando is still listed as questionable with a left hamstring injury. Although he did practice this week, it is likely rookie Andrew Putna will start in his place again.
The two teams will kick off at 7 p.m. at DSG Park.