In seven of the last eight years, Real Salt Lake has lifted the Rocky Mountain Cup. And while that dominance can take some of the sting out of a rivalry, RSL goalkeeper Jeff Attinella said on Wednesday that the matches with the Colorado Rapids are still ones that get circled on the calendar.
“There’s a trophy on the line, right?” he said rhetorically in an interview on the Bill & OC Show on ESPN 700. “Any time you get a chance to win a trophy I think it’s a big deal.”
Attinella is in his third season with Real Salt Lake and the two teams have split the trophy in his two prior years – Colorado winning in 2013 and RSL reclaiming the trophy in 2014.
It was that second year that helped him see just how important the rivalry is to the club and its fans.
“I don’t think I realized how big of a deal it was until I saw the reaction of the guys that have been around when we won it last year,” he said. “To win it on their field and see the reaction of some of the older guys that have been around for the rivalry games and been around battling for these cups. It is a big deal.”
RSL opens defense of the Rocky Mountain Cup on Sunday at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first of three matches in the annual affair. Real Salt Lake has won the trophy in seven of the 10 years that they have competed for it, including six in a row from 2007-2012. Attinella views that match not only as the first match in the series, but the chance to take the first step in retaining the title.
“Sunday’s the first one and it’s an opportunity to get one step closer to winning that thing and keeping it in Salt Lake,” he said.