There have been a lot of memorable moments in the Real Salt Lake-Colorado Rapids rivalry, which has emerged as arguably one the best in Major League Soccer. With the Rapids making their second 2012 visit to Rio Tinto Stadium this Saturday, we take a look back at 10 moments that helped shape the rivalry.
In a game that set the stage for Pablo Mastroeni's ridiculous antics at Rice-Eccles Stadium a month later, Jeff Cunningham scored twice while Chris Brown and Chris Klein scored as well to lead the visitors to a 4-1 thrashing of the Rapids at Invesco Field.
Fabian Espindola's tap-in goal in the 93rd minute lifted Real Salt Lake to a gutty 1-0 victory over the Rapids in front of 15,513 chilly, yet loyal supporters.
It was the fifth time in the past seven games of the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry that a game-tying or game-winning goal has been scored by either team in the 88th minute or later.
The win was RSL’s fourth straight to open the 2011 season.
In a shocking mid-summer trade, Real Salt Lake sent Mehdi Ballouchy to Colorado in exchange for Kyle Beckerman, a player hated by RSL's supporters. Two months after the trade, RSL and Colorado met in a memorable match at Rice-Eccles Stadium in which Beckerman got the better of his ex-teammates as the home team prevailed, 1-0.
RSL finished the 2007 season with the second worst record in MLS, but none of that mattered on Oct. 20. Robbie Findley's goal in the 87th minute clinched RSL's 1-0 victory at Colorado and officially eliminated the Rapids from playoff contention. The win also helped Eddie Pope lift a trophy in his final match as RSL won the Rocky Mountain Cup.
Despite suffering through what coach Jason Kreis called RSL's worst game of the season, his team somehow managed to gut out a wild, wild tie in which Alvaro Saborio scored twice late in the match. His first goal was on a penalty in the 90th minute, and the equalizer was courtesy of a horrible mistake by Colorado keeper Matt Pickens.
With more than 25,000 fans packed into Rice-Eccles Stadium, Real Salt Lake secured its first victory in franchise history on a memorable header from Brian Dunseth in the 81st minute for the 1-0 victory.
In arguably the most surreal day in team history, RSL throttled Colorado 3-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium on the final day of the regular season, and then watched as an improbable series of events unfolded the rest of the evening as the team officially clinched a playoff spot. The club rode the momentum to an MLS Cup.
The rivalry was officially born on this night. It had been respectable up until Sept. 2, but it changed forever when Pablo Mastroeni celebrated Colorado's 1-0 win at Rice-Eccles Stadium by ripping off his jersey and taunting RSL's supporters. He crossed the line according to RSL owner Dave Checketts, and the two got into a heated exchange on the sidelines as Mastroeni finally walked off the field.
Nat Borchers' backwards header in the fourth minute of stoppage time helped Real Salt Lake salvage a thrilling 1-1 tie against Colorado at Rio Tinto Stadium. The victory extended RSL's home unbeaten streak in MLS regular-season games to 24, a streak that eventually reached a league-record 29 straight before coming to a close.
On the final day of the regular season, Real Salt Lake needed only a tie at Colorado to clinch its first playoff spot in franchise history. Down 1-0 heading into the 90th minute, however, it seemed like it was back to the drawing board for RSL. The fortunes of the franchise changed forever though when Yura Movsisyan buried an equalizer in stoppage time to clinch the playoff berth.