April 6, 2013; Commerce City, CO, USA; Colorado Rapids midfielder/forward Atiba Harris (16) (center) reacts to his goal in the first half against Real Salt Lake at Dick

Atiba Harris Goal Gives Colorado Rapids Upper Hand in Rocky Mountain Cup Race

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After Atiba Harris gave the Colorado Rapids the lead at home just five minutes into their second of three showdowns against rival Real Salt Lake on Saturday, there were still 85 minutes left for plenty of things to change the result. Two minutes after the goal, it appeared that Real had a sure equalizer when Dillon Powers fouled Kyle Beckerman as they scrapped in the box. But Rapids rookie goalkeeper Clint Irwin made a diving stop on Alvario Saborio’s penalty kick, and Colorado held on throughout the rest of a wide-open affair to prevail 1-0 for their first win of the season.

The penalty save seemed to embolden Irwin, who finally stopped his first penalty after becoming the first goalkeeper in MLS history to face spot kicks in his first three starts. (Portland and Los Angeles scored on their attempts.) He proved impenetrable in net, pressed to make three stops to hold on to the victory for his club.

On the opposite end, Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando stood tall throughout the rest of the match, turning away several Rapids opportunities. But, with Irwin preventing Real from providing any goal support, Rimando suffered the defeat.

Both sides had their chances, but ultimately it was the stops that Irwin was able to make and the one early ball that got past Rimando that proved the difference. Coupled with the earlier 1-1 draw on March 16 between the two teams in Utah, the result gives the Rapids hope to reclaim the Rocky Mountain Cup for the first time since 2006; Colorado needs just a draw from their final match against Real on August 3 to end their rival’s six-year streak in the trophy battle.

 

REAL SALT LAKE @ COLORADO RAPIDS

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
April 6, 2013
Attendance: 15,226

 

SCORING

  • 5′ — COL/Atiba Harris (Edson Buddle, Nick LaBrocca)

STARTING LINEUPS

  • COL (4-1-2-1-2): Clint Irwin; Chris Klute, Shane O’Neill, Marvell Wynne, Brian Mullan; Hendry Thomas; Nick LaBrocca (Nathan Sturgis/84′), Atiba Harris; Dillon Powers; Edson Buddle (Tony Cascio/57′), Deshorn Brown (Jamie Smith/76′)
  • RSL (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Kenny Mansally (Khari Stephenson/84′), Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran; Kyle Beckerman; Ned Grabavoy, Sebastian Velasquez (Javier Morales/45′); Luis Gil; Alvaro Saborio, Devon Sandoval (Olmes Garcia/45′)
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Tags: Alvario Saborio Atiba Harris Clint Irwin Colorado Rapids Dillon Powers Edson Buddle Game Recap Kyle Beckerman MLS Nick LaBrocca Nick Rimando Real Salt Lake Rocky Mountain Cup

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