SANDY — Today was Nat Borchers' birthday, and you could say that he got all of his birthday wishes tonight.
Earlier today @NatBorchers posted on his twitter account, "Thanks everyone for the bday wishes! 3 bday requests: a packed house at the RioT, a shutout, and 3 massive points against our rivals!"
Missions accomplished, as 15,513 fans braved the wind and rain to watch Real Salt Lake defeat the Colorado Rapids on yet another stoppage time goal, which seems to be the norm in this rivalry of late.
Fabian Espindola scored the game’s lone tally in the 93rd minute to seal the win for the Real Salt Lake. It seemed that even RSL couldn't believe the result, as @RealSaltLake posted on twitter, "Couldn't write this if we tried, folks. Fabian Espindola's last gasp goal in stoppage time gives Real Salt Lake a hard fought 1-0 victory over Colorado..."
Leading up to the match, many fans sent comments via twitter directly to the team and players, including fans of other teams like @MelSeiser2, who said: "Well done, @realsaltlake. Even I'm pumped for the match now."
Also, @RSLShow said: "Hmm.. watch the @utah_jazz dress 8 players in final game or watch #Juggernaut @RealSaltLake play their main rival. #Decisions #Easy."
Ssome fans were more cautious in the build-up to the match upon learning who the man in the middle would be, Baldemero Toldeo. One such fan was @four4byu, who tweeted, “Poll: how many Red Cards/PK’s will Toledo dish out tonight to affect the match? My vote? 2 reds, 1 PK.”
While the referees seemed to miss calls for both sides tonight, and the RSL faithful booed them as steadily as the rain that was falling at Rio Tinto, most fans were just happy to get the result. @itschappy posted: “Just leaving the #RSLvCOL match cold wet night at Rio Tinto, but the boys sent us home happy!”
It seems that even non-RSL fans are getting on board with this team. ESPN analyst @AllenAHopkins said: “@RealSaltLake is for real! They just keep validating their current status as MLS’ top club with victories of all types. #recognize” At the same time, @SoccerbyIves sent this tweet, “RSL wins 1-0 with a stoppage time winner. Colorado was tough and could have earned a point, but RSL can’t be stopped right now.”
The mood surrounding this team was captured @the11ca who tweeted, “#RSL beats the Rapids on last-gasp goal, Fortress Rio Tinto. Toughest team in North American pro sports to beat at home.”
Many RSL fans are sure to feel the same way, especially heading into the CONCACAF Final against Monterrey in the next couple weeks.
Landon Walters is a history and political science major currently studying at Salt Lake Community College and is an avid sports fan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org