Top Moments of 2012: Defeating Our Rival
As we close out 2012, I'm once again presenting my top soccer moments from the past year that were witness by the Rapids community at large. In 2011, I went with a top five. This year, I'm going with just Top Moments - you can decide their order. Check back between Dec. 21-30 for this year's highlights.
Ask anyone that bleeds burgundy and they'll tell you the same things: beating Real Salt Lake - anytime - can brighten your day, or even a season.
And that was evident on August 4, when the Rapids ended a nine-game winless streak against their rivals from the other side of the Rockies with a 1-0 win at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, making it one of the Top Moments of 2012.
Midfielder Joseph Nane only played 19 games in his two years with Colorado, and only made eight starts. But on August 4, he scored his first Major League Soccer goal - one that will be most remembered by the Rapids' faithful.
WATCH: COLORADO 1, SALT LAKE 0
By that day the Rapids had already dropped both road matches in Utah earlier in the season and were on a terrible six-game losing streak. But that didn't stop supporters from coming ready for a win as they unveiled the largest tifo in stadium history before kickoff.
With the game scoreless in the 38th minute after Matt Pickens made another one of his ridiculous saves, Drew Moor took the ball down the right flank and sent a cross into the area that was headed toward goal by Jaime Castrillon. An RSL defender deflected the ball away, but Nane was there to collect it near the top of the box. Time seemed to slow down as Nane switched the ball to his prefered left foot and hit a shot off the underside of the crossbar that proved to be the game-winning goal.
The win stopped the bleeding and helped the Rapids take points in 7 of the final 12 games of the season.
It was also Pickens' 40th win in goal for Colorado, which established a new club record - one he dedicated to his ailing grandfather.
And it was Brian Mullan's 300th career regular season game, remembered for him walking out with his kids and being presented with 'Da Champ' jersey by his teammates afterwards.
Finally, when Pablo Mastroeni recently announced that he will return in 2013, he alluded that the win over RSL is what helped him want to get back out playing.
"It was probably the best home game that the team played," Mastroeni said. "It was remarkable to be able to commentate on that game and to see the effort and the belief, the tactics, everything going through and culminating in a great victory."
Of course there will be some cynics who will remind us that the win wasn't enough to win back the Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup. While that is true, there are way more die-hard fans who took pleasure in that the Rapids defended their home and sent RSL away with a loss...finally.