The Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake played to a 0-0 draw Friday night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. It was a game that featured some of the feisty play common in rivalry matches, but was a dull affair overall. With the draw, Real Salt Lake retain regional bragging rights and the Rocky Mountain Cup in 2011 by virtue of their 1-0 victory over Colorado on April 23. In this match, however, RSL had no shots on goal and could not seem to find a consistent rhythm in possession. Perhaps the suspension of Kyle Beckerman left the midfield disjointed.
Colorado controlled most of the play in this match, although it was frequently unconvincing. Wells Thompson poked a ball away from goal when he was right in front of the net in the fourth minute, and a shot came from outside the box in first-half injury time that Nick Rimando had to block. In the 82nd minute, Sanna Nyassi, who had an active match, crossed the ball in and Caleb Folan's flicked header was barely tipped over the crossbar by Rimando.
There were two key moments in this game. The first came in the first half, when Nyassi made a run into the box to reach a long pass and made contact with Rimando, who was also going after the ball. Since there was contact, but it looked like either player could have been at fault, referee Ricardo Salazar decided not to call a foul or issue a card. He issued a variety of yellow cards throughout the match, but none on this particular play.
The second pivotal moment came in the 84th minute, when a header by Folan off a corner kick bounced off the crossbar and ricocheted to the ground. In live play, it was unclear if it crossed the goal line, but Salazar did not award a goal despite appeals from Rapids players. The replay, however, confirmed the ball did not completely cross the line, so the initial no-call was correct.
While bragging rights were on the line, neither team can be pleased with this result. Although there was nothing major to play for in this match, both clubs look like they have a lot of holes that can be exploited. This match may provide prime scouting material for their postseason opponents.