Real Salt Lake vs Colorado Rapids: Salt Lake Tops Colorado in Rocky Mountain Cup

Matt JonesAnalyst IApril 14, 2011

FOXBORO, MA - APRIL 9:  Paulo Araujo #23 of Real Salt Lake battles against Pat Phalen #28 and Kevin Alston #30 of the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium April 9, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Gail Oskin/Getty Images)
Gail Oskin/Getty Images

Major League Soccer showcased it's best rivalry Wednesday night as the last two MLS Cup Champions met in the first leg of the battle for the Rocky Mountain Cup.

The Cup, given annually to the winner of rivalry between Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids, may be staying in Utah for another year.

In what is becoming the norm for these fierce rivals, the two teams battled hard and held each other scoreless until the game was won with a little bit of last minute drama. 

It wasn't until stoppage time that the first and only goal of the match was scored. In a somewhat desperate effort to put a goal in, RSL players worked in front of the goal when the ball popped out and defender Jamison Olave was able to draw a foul just outside the box.

On the ensuing free kick, Javier Morales bent a nearly perfect strike around the defensive wall that hit the near post. In the scramble for the ball, second half substitution Paulo Jr. collected the rebound just in front of the goal.

Before he could fire a shot, his teammate Fabian Espindola slid into the ball and kicked it into the back of the net.

His goal came in the 93' minute.

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This game winning goal marked the fifth time in the last seven meetings that a goal that determined the outcome of the game was scored in the 88' minute or later. 

The Rocky Mountain Cup has found a bit of a permanent home in Utah. After Colorado won the cup the first two years, Real Salt Lake has gotten the better of the Rapids for the last four.

So far, it appears that it may stay in Utah this year as well.

With the win RSL has not lost at home in 37 straight competitions. They are 4-0-0 on this season and lead the league with 12 points.

The second leg of the Rocky Mountain Cup is not until late in the season on October 14 at Dicks' Sporting Goods Park in Colorado.

The next match for Real Salt Lake will be next Wednesday against Mexican super club Monterrey in the first leg of the CONCACAF finals. Monterrey is one of the best teams in this region, but they enter the match dealing with some injury problems.

The first leg will be in Mexico and the second and deciding leg will be in Utah.