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In his first Rocky Mountain Cup matchup at the helm of the Rapids, Chris Armas beat history to secure Colorado’s first win on the road in the series in four years.

Armas’ high-energy, high-press system took some time to work into on Saturday night but paid off by the final whistle after the Rapids forced a handball in the box for a penalty kick opportunity and put numbers into the box late to finish off a memorable victory at America First Field. 

Despite the praise of achieving his first victory with the team, former MLS captain and All-Star gave all the credit to his new squad for the three points. 

“I've said it all along, it's an attentive group, it's a hungry group,” said Armas after the win. “They're young, but they're good. Every day, I get to work with winners...when they win, it becomes part of your DNA.

“It's our first one. We'll get right back to work tomorrow, and we're looking more and more like the team we want to become perfect.”

Rafael Navarro and Cole Bassett scored their first goals of the 2024 season over their rivals on Saturday.

After going down a goal in the 22nd minute, Navarro stepped up to the spot to take a penalty kick resulting from an RSL handball in the box. His low drive to the right was enough to get the Rapids a point back, and from then, the spark was lit to grab another before the final whistle.

Bassett’s shot connected after a failed clearance from Salt Lake to mark Colorado’s game-winning goal, and during a matchup of significance—the Homegrown’s 100th regular-season appearance with the club.

The energy around the locker room is different, said Bassett after the game. A new season, new players, and certainly a new coach are the difference makers.

“Even before the game, Chris' key word in his pregame speech was ‘yet’ you know, ‘We haven't got that win yet, and I don't know if it'll come today but I can tell you it's coming soon’,” said the midfielder. “I think for us, that was key...there were a lot of moments in that game that weren't clean. But we held on and finished our goals—and we didn't have too many chances. We still have to work on that."

Armas’ credit extends to not just his support staff and team, but the fans that show up for both home and away games. He wears his Centennial 38 scarf for every game, and never misses a chance to give supporters a shoutout in interviews.

Amongst the boos and jeers of Salt Lake supporters, Armas crossed the pitch at America First Field on Saturday to raise his scarf and thank the fans that traveled to the other side of the Rockies for the game.

The Rapids haven’t secured a win in their rivals' stadium since 2020 in a 5-0 rout of Salt Lake. Since then, Colorado has come back from behind to draw or has fallen short to keep the Rocky Mountain Cup just out of their grasp.

“It's an important win for our team because they just need validation for the work that they've done. They come every day and work so hard. I was gutted for the team and our fans against Nashville,” Armas said. “So tremendous for the players, all the people that are at our club that have put in a hell of a lot of work...and for our fans that are there for us, and then we know we're all in on this one together. It's a big first step for that and the Rocky Mountain Cup.”