It was three years ago today - November 21, 2010 - that the Colorado Rapids defeated FC Dallas in Toronto to win MLS Cup 2010 (Watch above). Much like today in Colorado, it was freezing in Toronto that day, but neither the players, coaches, staff or traveling fans that made the trip can recall the cold.
For many of us that experienced that run, it's the other memories that are still fresh - though I admit the dates are not ingrained in my head.
There was that horrible feeling in the season finale, when RSL tied the game with two stoppage time goals, dropping the Rapids to a fifth place finish in the West. It proved to be a silver lining, as the result meant Colorado would play in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket.
From there on it was nerves and excitement - first holding on to defeat Columbus at home, then winning the series on penalty kicks at Crew Stadium.
The luck continued as San Jose defeated New York - also in the East, which meant Colorado would host the Conference Championship game. On that fridged night at Dick's Sporting Goods Park - a packed stadium stayed long after the game to watch the players take their victory lap and lift the Conference Championship trophy.
With limited time, many found a way to make it to BMO Field. I remember walking out on the field for the warm-ups and looking up into the stands behind the goal and seeing that section in burgundy (and grey, and hats, scarves, etc). The players were all pointing up, as well, shaking their heads in amazement at the support that had made their way from the Rocky Mountains to Ontario.
I can still see Conor Casey's goal developing. I can see Matt Pickens' ridiculous game-saving dive in overtime. Who can forget the winning goal - it didn't matter how it went in. And what about the tension felt in overtime as the Rapids finished with ten men after Mac Kandji couldn't return to the field?
I remember pulling into the player's lot on the team bus the next day to a sea of fans, with a huge sign in the back that read, "Kings of the Rockies."
As we look back at that Championship game, it's fun to also look forward with a new excitement. While the 2010 team peaked at the right time and had a good amount of fortune on the way, the current group has many fans optimistic that the team is on a path to more trophies. Here's hoping the next title game is in Colorado, though I don't think anyone would mind winning a trophy on the road again, either.