Heroes and villains are born from the great rivalries in Major League Soccer.
For Real Salt Lake in the Rocky Mountain Cup derby with the Colorado Rapids, the list of heroes runs long and started when Brian Dunseth planted the flag at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the first meeting of the two teams on April 16, 2005.
Fittingly, the first goal in the series was scored in the final 10 minutes of the match. Of the 56 goals scored in the 31 matches played between the two clubs, 20 of them have come in the 80th minute or later and many of those changed results. RSL earned three victories with later heroics while Colorado has won twice, but where it is telling is that five times Salt Lake snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat while Colorado has come from a losing position to earn a draw only once.
Those results have created many heroes for The Claret and Cobalt and here are a few of them that have made an impact through the years.
Dunseth scored the first goal in the series as RSL won the first matchup in 2005, but the Rapids went on to dominate the rivalry over the first two seasons, holding a 5-2-1 edge while hoisting the Rocky Mountain Cup both years. Since then, the spoils have gone the way of The Claret-and-Cobalt and the tides turned with a Robbie Findley goal in the 87th minute of the final match of the 2007 season. The win not only allowed Real Salt Lake’s fans to tote the Cup for a year, but also eliminated the Rapids from playoff contention, doubling the force of the blow.
Many players have donned both team’s jerseys through the years. However, none more prominent than Beckerman. In 2007, Beckerman was in his sixth season with the Rapids and had grown to not only be a fan-favorite in Colorado, but also a top nemesis for RSL. However, with the Rapids struggling during a stretch, the club decided to trade him and found a willing suitor in Salt Lake. On July 14, 2007, Beckerman was traded for midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy and he soon became the face and captain of Real Salt Lake.
Like Findley a year before him, Yura Movsisyan broke the hearts of Colorado fans while tattooing his name in the memories of the RSL faithful with an RMC-deciding goal. In 2008, the teams split the first two matches with each winning 2-0 on their home fields. The final match was at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and it looked like Conor Casey’s goal would stand as the minutes wore on. Then, even as the Cup was about to be awarded to the Rapids, Movsisyan netted a 90th-minute equalizer to retain the trophy and, again, knock the Rapids out of the playoff chase.
Alvaro Saborio has six goals to lead all scorers in the history of the Rocky Mountain Cup. Three of those have come after the 80th minute to secure points for RSL. Trailing 2-0 in stoppage time on the road in October of 2010, Saborio scored twice to earn a draw and keep the trophy with RSL for a fourth consecutive season. Then in March of 2013, he did it again, this time scoring in the 80th minute to equalize in a 1-1 draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.