"We’ve been there in difficult patches where you just haven’t had the result that you’ve wanted for a long time and you’re just doing everything you can to get your body in front of things and make tackles and plays in the defensive third of the field," said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. "That’s what [the Rapids] did tonight. There's no doubt about it."
Colorado (8-14-1) had been outscored 11-4 during the skid. The Rapids hadn't collected a point since a 3-0 win over the Portland Timbers on June 30.
Pickens made one save as he posted his sixth shutout of the year and 38th of his career in gaining his 40th win with Colorado. He had been tied at 39 with Marcus Hahnemann.
Rapids midfielder Brian Mullan became the 15th player to appear in 300 MLS games.
Nane scored on a rebound after the Rapids had pressured Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Nane had missed a quality chance earlier in the game.
"It's my strong belief that in this league, unless every single time, the team that wants it more typically get the result," said Kreis.
Real Salt Lake (13-8-3) had won two straight in MLS action and the loss kept it from moving into first place in the Western Conference past idle San Jose. Salt Lake also failed to complete a sweep of its three-game season series with Colorado.
"Obviously we’re all disappointed," said RSL defender Tony Beltran. " We had the opportunity to take over first place and we didn’t take it. But still, it’s just a big letdown. I think we could have done better tonight."
Real Salt Lake has been shut out in its past three road games.
Omar Cummings set up a wide-open shot by Nane in the 12th minute that Rimando moved over and caught with both hands.
Real Salt Lake had its only scoring chance of the first half, a header by Justin Braun off a feed from Jonny Steele that Pickens batted away in the 15th minute. The ball stayed loose near the crease but Real Salt Lake couldn't get control.
Nane's goal came after Jaime Castrillon had his shot blocked by defenders. The ball came right back to Nane, who sent a left-footed kick past Rimando just beneath the crossbar.
Castrillon missed two chances to extend the lead in the second half. He missed a wide-open net in the 54th minute after a Real Salt Lake turnover and hit the left post with Rimando out of position in the 68th minute.
The Claret-and-Cobalt will look to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat on Aug. 11, when they’ll travel to Vancouver to take on Whitecaps FC in a game you can see on ABC4.