When the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry reached new heights
All this week we will be counting down the top five 'Mastroeni Moments' – all from Pablo’s playing career with the Rapids – as voted by you, the fans. Coming in at #2 is the flash-point which ignited the rivalry in the Rocky Mountain Cup.
September 2, 2006 – Rocky Mountain Cup Comes Alive: The Rapids currently hold the Rocky Mountain Cup, and Real Salt Lake certainly has had its fair share of success in the competition, claiming the trophy from 2007-2013. But it was this date in 2006 that everyone thinks of as the true start of the rivalry between the clubs.
With supporters of both teams creating the idea for a trophy being awarded to the winner of the season series between the two clubs, the Rocky Mountain Cup was born when RSL came into the league in 2005. The Rapids cruised in that first season, winning three of the first four meetings between the clubs.
The following year was a different story. After RSL scored late to earn a draw in the first meeting between the teams, the Rapids took the series lead with a 1-0 win at home. But on August 9, RSL came back to Mile High and thumped Colorado 4-1, tying the series at 1-1-1 and setting up a deciding match on September 2 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
That final game was an intense affair – there were seven yellow cards issued, five of which went to Rapids players – but a Nico Hernandez goal early in the second half was all Colorado needed for the 1-0 lead, and a second straight Rocky Mountain Cup.
While the match was heated, what happened post game elevated the rivalry to a new level, and Mastroeni to even more beloved places among Colorado fans. Celebrating the victory, waving his shirt around and eventually tucking it into his shorts, Mastroeni drew the ire of many from Salt Lake, including then-owner Dave Checketts, who made his feelings known. The shouting match is now legendary, and helped make the Rocky Mountain Cup the best rivalry in MLS.