Sandy • Real Salt Lake is preparing for its third game in a week a Major League Soccer clash with rival Colorado.
It's the affordable price of being among the top teams in MLS that leads to extra CONCACAF Champions League games sandwiched between MLS opponents.
And although RSL must recover from its 1-0 defeat Tuesday at Costa Rican champion Herediano, it does so with the knowledge that a victory at Colorado on Saturday vaults Real into first place in the Western Conference.
With 42 points, RSL (13-7-3) sits two points behind conference leader San Jose (13-5-5).
"I think it's a good thing we know our opponent," said RSL coach Jason Kreis, already in possession of the Rocky Mountain Cup for 2012. "We don't have to travel too far. There are some things going for us for sure, but this is also an opponent with their backs against the wall."
The slumping Rapids (7-14-1) have lost a franchise-record six consecutive games, including a 2-1 defeat to visiting Seattle on Saturday. Kreis expects a scrap.
"Maybe that's a good thing, too," he said. "To get back into a real fight."
Right now, though, Kreis is more concerned with his team's preparation. Although Real is relatively healthy aside from defender Jamison Olave there has been an accumulation of bumps and bruises that need watching.
Kwame Watson-Siriboe is again expected to play in place of Olave, who hurt a hamstring Tuesday.
"There are a lot of questions still to be answered," Kreis said. "It was a very long flight. … All in all, guys have been recovering really well and have done well in the prior times we've had three games in a week. We'll talk to them over today and tomorrow and figure out where we're at."
Tuesday's injury to Olave was just one more in a series of injuries for the unfortunate RSL veteran, who was scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday.
"If you look at his preseason, he came in very fit," Kreis said. "He had done all the work that was asked and was ready to go, so I can't blame it on a lack of preparation in the offseason. I think he's been a little bit unlucky."
Real Salt Lake at Colorado
P Saturday, 7 p.m.
TV • Ch. 4