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Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Colorado Rapids vs. Real Salt Lake - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Colorado Rapids are looking to extend their unbeaten run to five games on Sunday when they host Real Salt Lake, and if they manage to do so that will be their longest string of results without defeat of the season.

Salt Lake also come into this fixture off the back of two victories, and claiming three points this weekend will reduce the current seven-point gap to Colorado, who sit just above them in fourth.


Match preview

Robin Fraser's side have scored five goals in their last two games, which has helped them to a 3-1 win against Houston Dynamo and a 2-1 victory last time out against Los Angeles Galaxy.

Jonathan Lewis gave Colorado an early lead from 12 yards in their last outing, but the away side would have to wait until the 73rd minute for the winner, which came from substitute Andre Shinyashiki.

With two games in hand on Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders, and only sitting five points behind them, Colorado will have top spot in their sights, but they must continue their unbeaten run to keep the pressure on the teams above them.

Colorado have put themselves in a promising position in the Western Conference and have one of their best ever chances of winning the league after coming runners-up in 2016.

Having played 18 games to date, the season has passed the halfway mark and Fraser's side have 16 more MLS games to secure their place in the national playoffs, and also charge for top spot in the West.

Salt Lake won back-to-back games for the first time since the opening two fixtures of the MLS, putting them in good form heading into this top-seven clash with Colorado.

Justin Meram gave Salt Lake the perfect start at the Rio Tinto Stadium last time out against Houston, but the home side would end up needing a late winner from Anderson Julio to seal the three points two minutes from time.

Of the 27 points Freddy Juarez's side have earned this season, 19 of them have come on home turf at the Rio Tinto Stadium, meaning only eight points have been achieved on the road, suggesting that three points on Sunday is unlikely for Salt Lake.

These two sides met in Utah not so long ago when Salt Lake were emphatic winners at the end of July, courtesy of an own goal from William Yarbrough and strikes from Bobby Wood and Rubio Rubin, sealed the 3-0 win.

The previous three meetings between Colorado and Salt Lake have been full of goals, with the last three scorelines showing 3-0, 5-0 Colorado and 4-1 Salt Lake, and with both sides having been healthy scorers in front of goal this season, a similar narrative is likely to follow on Sunday.

Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W

Team News

Colorado winger Younes Namli has been sidelined since May 9 with a broken ankle, and he is going to be absent from Sunday's squad also, not expecting to return before the end of September.

Fraser tends to opt for a 3-4-2-1 formation and rotated the forward three over the last two games, with Diego Rubio, Michael Barrios and Shinyashiki all being replaced last time out by Lewis, Cole Bassett and Mark-Anthony Kaye in the attacking positions, but Kaye and Bassett did retain their starting 11 places, they just played in a deeper role.

Salt Lake goalkeeper David Ochoa is nearing a return to action as he recovers from a muscle injury, but Zac MacMath is expected to remain between the posts for the visitors on Sunday.

Left-back Andrew Brody is also in the physio room with a broken toe and is expected to return to fitness next month. Donny Toia is expected to start on the left side of defence on Sunday.

Toia coming into the starting lineup for Ashtone Morgan was the only change Juarez made from the Austin fixture to their last outing against Houston, and he is expected to name the same starting 11 to the team that picked up three points on Thursday.

Colorado Rapids possible starting lineup:
Yarbrough; Wilson, Abubakar, Rosenberry; Trusty, Kaye, Price, Bassett; Shinyashiki, Barrios; Rubio

Real Salt Lake possible starting lineup:
MacMath; Toia, Datkovic, Silva, Herrera; Meram, Kreilach, Everton, Menendez; Rusnack, Wood


We say: Colorado Rapids 1-0 Real Salt Lake

Colorado have only lost once at home so far this campaign while Salt Lake have picked up just two wins on the road, suggesting that Colorado will have the upper hand on Sunday.

Three points for the hosts will open up a big gap between themselves and Salt Lake, and with a game in hand on their top-seven rivals, and they should use this motivation to beat Juarez's side this weekend.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data



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Major League Soccer Table

Eastern Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England21144340251546
2Nashville SCNashville20711232201232
3New York City FCNY City1994634191531
4Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia208752619731
5Orlando City198742924531
6DC United208393129227
7CF MontrealMontreal207672625127
8Atlanta UnitedAtlanta205962325-224
9Columbus Crew206682125-424
10New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls196492324-122
11Chicago Fire2055102332-920
12Inter MiamiInter Miami185491830-1219
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati183871830-1217
14Toronto2036112441-1715

Western Conference

TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1New England RevolutionNew England21144340251546
2Nashville SCNashville20711232201232
3New York City FCNY City1994634191531
4Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia208752619731
5Orlando City198742924531
6DC United208393129227
7CF MontrealMontreal207672625127
8Atlanta UnitedAtlanta205962325-224
9Columbus Crew206682125-424
10New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls196492324-122
11Chicago Fire2055102332-920
12Inter MiamiInter Miami185491830-1219
13FC CincinnatiCincinnati183871830-1217
14Toronto2036112441-1715
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