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SANDY — Real Salt Lake’s 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium secured the Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup for the sixth straight year.
The RSL-Colorado rivalry has been getting bigger and bigger with each year.
“I think it’s a fantastic rivalry and it has been since Day 1,” said RSL head coach Jason Kreis. “I think that it’s always been an emotional game. You could see the Colorado fans there tonight and the same thing happens when we go there — our fans show up and are loud and passionate.
"So it obviously means something to our fans, and if it means something to our fans, it means something to us as well.”
RSL's roster agrees.
“Their fans are pretty good about giving us a hard time when we go to their place, and I think they’ve got a great fan base and a great rivalry with our fans and it’s just great to have that pride and keep the Cup here in Salt Lake,” said RSL defender Nat Borchers.
Saturday's match was clinched by a goal in the 90th minute by RSL midfielder Will Johnson. Fabian Espindola capitalized on a defensive error to put Salt Lake ahead 1-0 earlier in the match.
The win handed RSL some much-needed confidence in light of recent results and specifically the most recent result — a 5-0 loss at San Jose last weekend.
RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy described the win as an “important one, especially with some of the results we’ve had at home in the last two months or so.”
Kreis also agreed that the win was important, but added it’s time for RSL to remain "humble.”
“I think it’s going to be very important for the guys to remember that we need to stay humble now — remember what it takes to get results and when we don’t do that we don’t get results and when we do, we do get results.”
RSL and Co. had a familiar sight from last week's loss at San Jose, as the official from that match, Allen Chapman, was the fourth official Saturday night.
The RSL coaching staff sat on the opposite side of the bench from where it usually sits — further away from Chapman.
Kreis had no comment on the seating arrangement.
RSL was without its captain Kyle Beckerman Saturday night as he served a one-game suspension he acquired from the red card he was shown during last week's match against the San Jose Earthquakes, but young Yordany Alvarez stepped up to fill Beckerman's spot.
His teammates felt he took on the role well.
“I thought he was very solid, won some tackles for us,” said Johnson. “It’s great when he can step in for Kyle and do a great job like that. He stepped in and made a difference.”
The win moved RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando into the No. 2 slot on the all-time MLS career wins list with 132 victories. Rimando moved past MLS goalkeeper Zach Thornton who has played for Chicago, New York and Chivas USA.
RSL will return to Rio Tinto Stadium next week as it hosts Western Conference opponent Vancouver.
Kira Terry is a sports writer covering Real Salt Lake for KSL.com. Follow her on Twitter, @kiraterry.