You always remember your first, and for the Colorado Rapids it is five years since they laid their hands on a first MLS Cup.
The date was November 21, 2010. The venue was BMO Field in Toronto. The opponent was FC Dallas.
Only one MLS Cup decider has been played in colder conditions; the 2013 edition when Sporting Kansas City needed penalties to topple Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park. The temperature was just 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
Three years earlier, the Rapids and FC Dallas were involved in a scrappy, physical affair, played out before 21,700 fans, most of who were wrapped up against the Ontario chill, with the thermometer showing 43F.
"We didn't have the best ability," recalls Drew Moor. "We didn't have the best players, we didn't have the superstars, but we just had this self-belief.
"Everybody in the locker room before the game could look at each other in the eye, and know that we were going to go out and win again."
Cool heads were required in the heat of battle. Those that recall the occasion will remember a tense, tight encounter. The finale was short on finesse, and lacking in much of football’s finery. The winning goal, in overtime, came courtesy of a cruel deflection.
Little was pretty about the moment. Rapids players and fans were in ecstasy while Macoumba Kandji (pictured right) was in agony. He suffered an ACL tear as he prodded the ball across the six-yard box and watched as Dallas defender George John diverted the ball beyond goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
"To be honest, I would do it all over again, to win a Championship" said Kandji. "The ACL will heal and you will be back playing again, but the Championship is going to last forever."
FC Dallas had earlier taken the lead, when the league’s 2010 MVP, David Ferreira, latched onto a Marvin Chavez cross from the right on 35 minutes to guide past the on-rushing Matt Pickens.
Colorado’s equalizer 12 minutes after the interval was as scrappy as the winner. Neat work down the left from Jamie Smith gave Conor Casey a sniff at the near post. He poked home the leveler at the second time of asking, while sat on his back-side, with Hartman and Jair Benitez equally prone and struggling to clear their lines.
John’s own-goal came with 13 minutes left in over-time. It meant the Rapids had 13 minutes to hold out, which they did, but with just 10 fit players on the field. The Rapids had exhausted their three substitutions, forcing an injured Kandji to continue, despite sustaining such a serious injury. He was, though, a mere spectator.
"Who knows if we'll ever get this opportunity again, in the rest of our lives, in whatever we do," outlined Pablo Mastroeni.
"One of the greatest moments of my playing career was looking over to Baldomero Toledo, the referee, and seeing him put the whistle in his mouth and saying 'oh, my God, this is really going to happen', and then it just goes all blurry from there."
The then Rapids’ skipper knew that the next shrill sound to echo around BMO Field would signal the end of the 2010 MLS Cup, and the start of long-awaited celebrations.
"You really can't explain the moment," added Moor. "It's one moment; it's a short moment. Everything just culminated in what you play for, what you work for, what you sacrifice everything for, what you come into the stadium, the locker room, every day for.
"That one moment was just elation, joy, not relief, not 'hey, we've done it', just pure joy that you can't really explain."
The Rapids, one of 10 charter members of Major League Soccer, lost out in the 1997 MLS Cup but were not to be denied on their second appearance.
As the match report stated in the aftermath: ‘Colorado Rapids, welcome to Major League Soccer royalty.’
DAL: David Ferreira 2 (Marvin Chavez 2, Jair Benitez 1) 35’
COL: Conor Casey 2 (unassisted) 57’
COL: own goal 1 (George John 1) 107’
COL: Anthony Wallace (caution; reckless tackle) 41’
COL: Jamie Smith (caution; reckless tackle) 51’
COL: Conor Casey (caution; reckless foul) 84’
DAL: Jair Benitez (caution; reckless foul) 84’
Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Drew Moor, Anthony Wallace (Julien Baudet 92+), Marvell Wynne, Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Brian Mullan, Jamie Smith (Wells Thompson 90), Conor Casey, Omar Cummings (Macoumba Kandji 98).
Subs not used: Steward Ceus, Ian Joyce, Quincy Amarikwa, Claudio Lopez, Scott Palguta.
FC Dallas: Kevin Hartman, Jair Benitez, Jackson (Zach Loyd 34), Ugo Ihemelu, George John, Marvin Chavez (Eric Avila 105), Daniel Hernandez, Dax McCarty, Brek Shea (Jeff Cunningham 64), David Ferreira, Atiba Harris.
Subs not used: Jon Kempin, Eric Kronberg, Eric Alexander, Bruno Guarda, Ruben Luna.
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: C.J. Morgante; Craig Lowry
4th Official: Silviu Petrescu
Weather: Clear, 43 degrees
Volkswagen MLS Cup MVP: Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Matt Pickens - departed the Rapids at the end of the 2013 season, since when he has been with Tampa Bay Rowdies in the NASL.
Kosuke Kimura - left MLS in 2015 for a spell in Poland with Widzew Łódź, before returning to the USA in July to join Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL), under the guidance of 2010 MLS Cup-winning head coach, Gary Smith.
Drew Moor - in 2015 he made his 300th MLS appearance and marked six years with the Rapids. He remains the only survivor from the 2010 MLS Cup still on the Rapids’ roster.
Anthony Wallace - left Colorado at the end of 2013, and spent a season with Tampa Bay Rowdies. Joined New York Red Bulls in March, 2015.
Marvell Wynne - his time in Colorado came to an end at the conclusion of the 2014 season, whereupon he joined San Jose Earthquakes.
Jeff Larentowicz - remains in MLS. He has been with Chicago Fire since 2013.
Pablo Mastroeni - head coach with the Rapids, having retired from the game at the end of the 2013 season.
Brian Mullan - saw out his playing days with the Rapids, retiring in 2014. He became assistant coach with the club for the 2015 campaign.
Jamie Smith - the former Scottish international hung up his boots at the end of the 2013 season, since when he has been working with the next generation of Rapids talent in the Development Academy.
Conor Casey - departed the Rapids at the end of 2012, since when he has been with Philadelphia Union.
Omar Cummings - after leaving the Rapids at the end of the 2013 season, Cummings spent two seasons with Houston Dynamo. He joined San Antonio Scorpions of the NASL in March of 2015.