Rapids-Real Salt Lake Preview

The Associated Press

Real Salt Lake is the only team in MLS without a loss, and it feels confident it can continue that run despite missing three key players.

RSL also will be looking to remain unbeaten against the Colorado Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium as the rivals meet Saturday night in the first segment of the Rocky Mountain Cup.

Salt Lake (5-0-5) looks like a top contender to make another run to the MLS Cup after falling last season on penalty kicks to Sporting Kansas City in the title match.

Depth has kept RSL going, as only four players have started all 10 games, while eight have missed at least one due to injury. They'll be shorthanded again Saturday when captain Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando will be among 30 players competing for a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster, and forward Alvaro Saborio will be in camp with Costa Rica.

"This locker room's really deep," Beckerman said. "(We) don't make a team. It's a whole team effort. We've got some great players coming in and filling our roles. There should be no need to panic."

Salt Lake went through a similar situation last season when four players left to compete in the Gold Cup in July in the midst of six-game unbeaten streak. RSL went 1-2-1 in their absence and 1-1-2 when they returned before regrouping to win the Western Conference.

Beckerman doesn't see a similar slide happening this time around.

"Last year, we were going on a really good run when we were getting in form and felt unbeatable for a while. Then a bunch of us left for a month," Beckerman said.

"I trust everybody in there. I don't see any reason why we can't keep picking up points and keep winning and be right where we are when I get back."

Salt Lake went 0-1-2 against Colorado last season, conceding the Rocky Mountain Cup for the first time since 2006. It is 4-0-3 against the Rapids at Rio Tinto Stadium since it opened in October 2008, though, and will look to extend that stretch against a Colorado team coming off a tough defeat.

The Rapids (4-3-3) have gone 1-2-2 over their last five after falling to Chivas USA last Saturday. Deshorn Brown scored his second goal and said Colorado needs to get past the defeat before this upcoming match.

"We were hoping to get these three points and looking forward to the big game against Salt Lake," Brown said. "So I guess we've got to put this one behind us and focus on the rivals."

The Rapids scored two goals in three of their first four games, but they haven't reached that mark while being shut out twice in six matches since.

"If we could've gotten three points here, it would have been massive in the standings and we would have gone to Salt Lake and been in a really good spot," defender Shane O'Neill said. "Now there's a little bit more pressure on us. I think (the Chivas match) is just one of those games you want to forget about and move on."

RSL has outscored Colorado 11-3 in the seven meetings at Rio Tinto Stadium.

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