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Commentary: Rocky Mountain Cup set to thrill

Chris Wondolowski scored a hat trick on Wednesday against Chivas USA. Impressive.

The race between Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy for the Supporters’ Shield is coming down to the last weekend. Dramatic.

The New York Red Bulls have not beat the New England Revolution in five years, but must beat them if they want to clinch the Eastern Conference title before the Columbus Crew take the field. Stressful, for both teams.

Where’d all the talk of the Rocky Mountain Cup go?

On a warm night in Sandy, Utah, on Sept. 25, the Colorado Rapids came closer than just about everyone else to breaking RSL’s home unbeaten streak, currently at 25 games. The Rapids had a 1-0 win until the reigning champs tied the game in the 93rd minute.

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A thrilling match, and with RSL trying to win themselves a Supporters’ Shield, Saturday’s next installment should be just as thrilling.

The players don’t like each other. The fans don’t like each other. And say what you will about the MLS rivalry cups, the Rocky Mountain Cup means more than just a chance to play spoilers in the Shield race.

The jibes of the Colorado fans to “Fake Salt Lake” and an 8-5-6 lead in the all-time series grates on a team and fanbase that deserve more respect.

The last-day elimination from playoff contention by RSL the past two seasons and an MLS Cup title last year grates on a Rapids club that, darn it, is one of the MLS originals.

And this time around, the teams really match up well. RSL have allowed just 18 goals this season. While Colorado’s Omar Cummings and Conor Casey have scored 25 goals combined, and have lethal runner Macoumba Kandji to share the load up front.

What will happen when the impossibly stingy RSL defense collides with Colorado’s potent offense?

Exactly: thrills.

So, go ahead, sing the praises of Wondo’s terrific season. Titter—and tweet—about the Golden Boot race coming down to the wire. Argue about whether David Ferreira or Javier Morales or Wondo or LD or whoever deserves the MVP award.

The reality, this Rocky Mountain Cup is easily the best game of the weekend. No matter what else is going on, the clash of two playoff-bound teams with bad blood and a trophy on the line is not something to miss.

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