This Saturday, the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake will renew one of the most storied rivalries in Major League Soccer for the 2022 season––the Rocky Mountain Cup. The 18-year history between the clubs on either side of the Rockies has been full of fierce competition, emotional roller coasters and its fair share of controversial moments.

Fans from both sides came together––in perhaps the last show of camaraderie since the series began––when RSL joined the league in 2005 to create a bi-partisan committee of ten total supporters to detail the competition’s terms. There, the Rocky Mountain rivalry was born.

Since the inaugural Rocky Mountain Cup match at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2005, the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake have fought head-to-head for hardware and bragging rights that span the distance of the Rockies.

Despite falling 1-0 on that April afternoon, the Rapids would go on to see victories in the remaining three matches of the series to secure the trophy for the first time.

Colorado has claimed the Cup five times in the series’ history, the most recent being in 2020. There were many historic, if not infamous, moments along the way to bring the two sides to this point. Few die-hard fans can forget the 2006 Rocky Mountain Cup finale which featured seven yellow cards, an irritable RSL fanbase and then-Rapids player Mastroeni’s heated argument with RSL’s owner Dave Checketts. Pablo, of course, returns to Colorado for the 2022 edition of the Cup, this time as the head coach of Real Salt Lake.

Dramatic showdowns and intense moments on and off the pitch have proven to be part of the Rocky Mountain Cup formula.

In 2009, the first game inside the claret and cobalt’s current Rio Tinto Stadium saw Rapids' striker Omar Cummings level the game in the 88th minute with a goal that earned him Goal of the Week honors and put him up for MLS Goal of the Year contention.

The past two decades of Rocky Mountain clashes have featured come-from-behind wins and draws, resounding shutouts and steadfast performances between the posts, exemplified by the 2013 finale which highlighted a lightning delay, an RSL penalty kick conversion, and a Jamie Castrillon equalizer to bring the Cup back to Colorado.

The 2016 edition of the RMC saw the awesome 'Keep Fighting' tifo unveiled before a Rapids win and then set the stage for Tim Howard’s unforgettable penalty kick denial in the second leg.

But what most displays the fighting spirit of the Rapids in this historic rivalry is the 2020 Rocky Mountain Cup finale. Despite the Rapids 2-0 loss in the MLS is Back tournament not counting toward the Cup result, a series opener 4-1 loss could have been enough to break the spirit of the Rapids and cost them the end result. But they were better than that. So much so that the Burgundy Boys made a 5-0 triumph look like a walk in the park to clinch the Rocky Mountain Cup title and earn back the hardware for the first time since 2015.

Despite RSL taking back the Cup in 2021 after the Rapids fell in the finale 3-1, Robin Fraser’s side is hungry for a chance to start 2022’s campaign off on the right foot on Saturday at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. The Rocky Mountain Cup is back, and the Burgundy Boys are ready to take on the challenge.