The Rocky Mountain Cup.
Laden with history, the RMC is one of the most intriguing, yet underrated fan created rivalries in Major League Soccer that commenced in physical and controversial fashion.
RSL fans remember the first-ever match against the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake fondly. On April 16, 2005, a sold-out, standing room only crowd of 25,287 fans packed into Rice Eccles Stadium to witness RSL’s first-ever home opening match. Professional soccer had officially arrived in Utah and what better opponent to welcome than its regional rival. 80 minutes passed with neither side able to find the back of the net until the Utah side earned a freekick some 40 yards from goal as RSL midfielder Clint Mathis took the set piece early, curling the ball towards the back post. Beating the bulk of the people in the penalty area, the ball bounced right into the run of Brian Dunseth who stretched for a diving header to send the ball screaming into the roof of the net in the 81st minute, sending the RSL faithful into a frenzy.
The flag had been planted.
Fast forward to the following season as RSL again welcomed the Rapids to Rice Eccles Stadium. On May 27, 2006 the two teams saw a 2-2 draw that will forever be marred by the altercations after the match. At the center of altercation and fan engagement was none other than Kyle Beckerman. His taunting towards the RSL faithful together with then defender Pablo Mastroeni brought the rivalry to an entirely different level. And while our captain unleashed a new animosity between the two clubs and its fans, we know we received the better end of the two sides when Beckerman became an RSL player in July of 2007.
Since then, RSL has claimed 10 of the 14 Rocky Mountain Cup trophies since 2005 and has outscored the Rapids by 21 goals. RSL has been dominant over the Rapids, to say the least and the club’s dominance really began in 2008 when Yura Movsisyan’s late equalizer at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in the final match of the season sent RSL through to the playoffs for the very first time. Although both sides have seen success on the league level with RSL claiming the MLS Cup crown in 2009 with the Rapids winning their own title in 2010, the RMC has been one-way traffic.
When RSL hosts the Rapids in 2019, it has the opportunity to solidify its 11th RMC title in 15 seasons as it currently holds a 3-2 aggregate scoring advantage over the Rapids from its victory in Denver earlier in the season.
Here’s to keeping the Claret-and-Cobalt ribbons tied firmly on the Rocky Mountain Cup for yet another season, RSL Family. Rapids fans, don’t be plagued by the empty trophy cabinet.