Rapids hope to end last-place season on high note vs. rival RSL

It seems the Colorado Rapids have found their footing.

While it’s too late for them to make the MLS Cup Playoffs, the Rapids can close out their season on a high note when they host postseason-bound Real Salt Lake — one of the strongest road teams in the league — at home Saturday night in Commerce City, Colo.

The Rapids (5-16-12, 27 points) struggled through a three-match home losing skid in May, and since then, they’ve dropped just two of their last 10 outings at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Colorado has also found the back of the net in seven consecutive matches. Before that, it failed to score in nine of 10 regular-season clashes. The Rapids notched just 16 goals in their first 26 regular-season matchups. Cole Bassett leads the Rapids with six goals.

Real Salt Lake have had Colorado’s number as of late, having won both of the teams’ regular-season meetings this go-round — including a 3-2 win in the Rocky Mountains in May. Real Salt Lake has beaten the Rapids 18 times since 2014, which is three more than any other crew against a single opponent over the last decade in MLS.

“A tough test. They’re a good team, but it’s a big game and a big opportunity to finish the season with our fans and hopefully finish on a positive note,” Colorado forward Rafael Navarro said after the team’s 1-1 draw at FC Dallas last Saturday.

This one has stakes for Real Salt Lake, too.

With another win against Colorado — and either a Seattle loss or Houston loss or draw — Real Salt Lake (13-12-8, 47 points) would snuggle into the Western Conference’s top-four and earn home-field advantage in the first round.

A player to keep an eye on for Real Salt Lake is Cristian Arango, who’s scored in his previous three regular-season road appearances. He could become the second in club history to make it four in a row — Alvaro Saborio did it in 2011.

RSL rallied for a 2-2 draw against the Los Angeles Galaxy last Saturday. Anderson Julio and Diego Luna struck in the second half for RSL.

“Home-field advantage is what we — like everybody — want,” Luna told reporters postgame. “But I think, especially for us, away or home doesn’t matter and we’ll do what we need to do.”