Sandy • Real Salt Lake had dominated the Colorado Rapids anytime the two faced off in the greater Salt Lake City area for the past 13 years.
The Rapids had different plans Saturday.
Diego Rubio scored twice in the first 10 minutes and the Rapids washed away RSL 5-0 in front of 4,484 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium. It was the first time since 2007 that Salt Lake lost to the Rapids at home, and that was when the team played its home games at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
RSL coach Freddy Juarez put the blame on himself for the result.
“Horrible game plan by me,” Juarez said. “Didn’t have the guys prepared.”
Tempers flared as the final whistle sounded. A skirmish broke out between the teams when RSL midfielder Everton Luiz appeared to run after a Rapids player and had to be restrained by one of his teammates. There was some more pushing between both teams before they walked into their respective locker rooms.
Juarez said he would “rather not talk about” the altercations that occurred immediately after the game, but hinted as to what may have started them.
“You don’t like people taunting,” Juarez said. “We’ve never taunted when we’ve gone and won multiple times in Colorado. You had a player that was taunting there. If you’re involved in soccer, their player knows what that means. It’s a young player, I get it. But you still don’t do that type of stuff.”
Saturday’s game was the second of four consecutive at home for a Salt Lake team that thrives at Rio Tinto. It hadn’t lost a home game all season prior to the beating it took against the Rapids.
The home loss against the Rapids became the worst in franchise history. RSL’s 5-1 loss to LAFC on March 10, 2018, was the previous worst home loss. Saturday was also the fourth time this season RSL conceded at least four goals.
“It was [an] overall bad performance for sure,” midfielder Damir Kreilach said. “I apologize to the fans because it’s not nice to lose 5-0, especially at home.”
Forward Douglas Martinez, who subbed in at halftime, picked up a straight red card for violent conduct in the 64th minute, leaving RSL with 10 players for the remainder of the game. By that time, though, the game had been decided for quite some time.
Rubio earned a brace with relative ease in a first half where RSL couldn’t get much going offensively because of Colorado’s defense. The Rapids pressed effectively, blocked shots and frequently forced Salt Lake to play backward.
After Rubio’s first goal in just the third minute of play, RSL couldn’t recover.
“When you concede a goal in [the third] minute, all the plan is going down,” Kreilach said.
Not five minutes into the second half, Sam Vines put Colorado up 3-0. Six minutes later, Braian Galván added a fourth. Cole Bassett put another nail in Salt Lake’s coffin in the 88th minute.
“There was a lot of things that went wrong today,” Juarez said. “I picked the lineup. I picked the game plan. It didn’t work, obviously.”
RSL has a week between the loss to Colorado and its next game against the Vancouver Whitecaps.