Commerce City, Colo. - The days leading up to October 10 for the past five years have been special to Colorado Rapids left back Luis Zapata.
On that day in 2007, Zapata scored one of the most famous goals for his club of eight years, Colombia's Millionarios. It was the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Copa Sudamericana, and Zapata's 86th minute tally gave Millionarios the 1-0 win over famed Brazilian club Sao Paulo in their home stadium, known as "El Morumbi."
"Our coach put me in with less then 10 minutes to play and told me to not get into the attack," Zapata told ColoradoRapids.com on the five-year anniversary. "He wanted us to hold the result because a scoreless tie was good for us. Well, an oppportunity was presented to me and I forgot what he told me. I joined the attack and was able to score that goal."
It was Zapata's first touch of the game, and first goal of the year.
"It was a ball we recovered some 35 yards from our goal, and since I saw they were not set up correctly, I decided to make a run and my teammate saw me," Zapata explained. "I remember that I looked up and saw that I was in front of the goalkeeper and he gave me space to be able to place it to his side."
Millionarios won the second leg 2-0 in Bogota and advanced to the semifinals, where they lost to Mexico's Club America 3-1 on aggregate.
But for a club that hasn't won their league championship since 1988, that goal - and win - continues to be a moment of joy for the Millionarios faithful.
"It's a recognition from the fans of Millionarios that haven't forgotten that goal," Zapata said. "I don't really keep that date in mind, but every year as the anniversary date approached, I get nice messages and now tweets from the fans who remember it so well."
Following the goal, fans and media gave Zapata the nickname, "El Morumbi."
"I honestly did not know that goal would be received like it has," Zapata added. "But that is what is great about that club, Millionarios, the biggest in Colombia. Whatever someone does there that helps the team, their fans always remember those things."
Millionarios are currently enjoying one of their best seasons of late. They are competing in this year's Copa Sudamericana as a result of winning the Copa Postobon last year. The Copa Postobon is similar to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, but includes only first and second division teams.
The club is also in first place in the Liga Postobon. The top eight teams will advance to the playoffs, with the winner being crowned Colombia's champion and securing a berth in next year's Copa Libertadores.