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So why do Real Salt Lake fans hate the Rapids? A RSL vs COL history lesson

pablo stuffs
pablo stuffs

Do you really have to ask?

So I thought I would take a look at why the fans of Real Salt Lake hate the Rapids, so I asked them via facebook and it didn't take much time for a lot of interesting comments.  So before we get to that I thought a little history review would be in order:

2005 - RSL enters Major League Soccer, our first home match was of course against the Rapids and fittingly so was our first ever win as Dunny's goal gave us the 1-0 win.  The other 3 matches that we played against Colorado in 2005 all went their way including a 0-1 loss on the final day of the season at Rice Eccles Stadium. 1-3-0 was the final record in year one.

2006 - RSL would find another year of 4 matches against the Rapids on tap and another year with just a single win, but an improved 1-2-1 record and of course it was the 1-0 win they had in September that ended with the infamous "stuff" and the begining of RSL fans actually caring about this "rivalry".   Up to this point I think most fans thought our best rival was (and for many of us, still is) Chivas USA.  This is also the year that the Rapids put RSL out of the US Open Cup with a 1-0 result in the 4th round of the tourney.

2007 - A year that RSL should thank the Rapids for, see it was the 2-0 loss at the end of April that was the end of the Ellinger era and the start of Kries' "Reign of RSL".  RSL wasn't able to get a win over the Rapids the next time they faced them but a 1-1 draw was a welcomed road result and the first time RSL had gotten points from the Rapids away from home.  For a second straight year it was Colorado that showed RSL the door in the US Open Cup, this time it was a 2-1 result in the Play-In round.  From here it was all uphill for RSL, a late September 1-0 win at Rice Eccles meant that the Rocky Mountain Cup would be decided as it has been since then on the final day of the season.  Rapids fans will remember the day, they last saw the Cup with their name on it, a 87th minute goal by Robbie Findley gave RSL a 1-0 win in Colorado and their first trophy of any type.  The final record of the rivalry in 2007 was 2-1-1.

more after the jump:

2008 - The start of very bad things for Colorado.  First they lost the Rocky Mountain Cup and for the next two years the Rapids would lose something much more valuable.  This year there would be only 3 matches between the two teams and the first was an away match that RSL lost 2-0, then a couple months later the return leg would see RSL pick up the 2-0 win at home and once again meant that the final match of the season would decide who would get the RMC, but the last match of the year would mean a lot more than just that.  It was a last minute goal by Yura Movsisyan that gave RSL the 1-1 draw and won the RMC for RSL on the virtue of away goals, but it cost the Rapids more than that as RSL's point was enough to put them into a playoff spot and keep the Rapids out of the playoffs. The season series ended 1-1-1.

2009 - Well the year didn't start out very well for RSL as in just the 6th week of the season they headed to Colorado and ended up with a 2-0 loss in a match where RSL played 59 minutes a man down and couldn't get a single shot on goal.  Then just a few weeks later the Colorado Rapids got their first look at "El Castillo", and little did either side know that the 1-1 draw would be the start of history for RSL.  That was match number one of the current 23 match unbeaten streak in MLS play.  The two teams wouldn't see each other again until the end of the season, and that match too would make history again and for Rapids fans not he good kind.  It was October 24th, and for RSL they would not only need to win the match, they would need a whole lot of luck if they were going to make it back to the playoffs.  Findley found the back of the net twice, and then Yura finished it off with a third as RSL won the match 3-0 to once again claim the Rocky Mountain Cup on goal differential as the series ended up 1-1-1.  By the end of the night RSL would be in the playoffs (on their way to winning the MLS Cup) while the Rapids were once again bounced out of the playoffs by Real Salt Lake.

All of this explains why the Rapids fans might hate RSL, but the reality is that there is little reason for RSL fans to care much about the Rapids, and if one little thing hadn't happened there probably wouldn't be much of a rivalry on this side of the mountains.  If Kyle had behaved, if Pablo hadn't thought it would be funny to come down to section 38 of Rice Eccles Stadium and taunt the fans who had given him grief for the entire match.

There are some other reasons why, and some RSL fans shared the following on facebook earlier today:

  • They live in Denver... natural rivals... enough said..
  • They are annoying. Rocket Science in particular. They are little whiny babies.
  • Yea, mostly the Pablo stuffing his shorts. And because that game I went to when their FO guy was a complete A$$.
  • the stupid fans that insist on making mormon jokes while standing behind me and watching me drink a beer and listening to me swear.
  • And that 400 lb woman who tried to fight us at the reserve match two years ago.
  • they "Rock the Dick".(thank you PID Army, you made it so simple)
  • They were ridiculous in the way they treated Kyle Beckerman, maybe not all of them but at least the coach/GM.
  • Just an overall classless organization towards us since we joined the league, although its probably just jealousy, we've already accomplished more in 6 years then they have in 15.
  • The Pablo incident at RES. (KB was involved too, remember?) I'll never forget it so long as I have air in my lungs. I've never been so close to rushing the pitch and knocking an opposing player on his a$$.
  • At the dick in 2008, before we scored to secure the draw and a trip to the playoffs, somewhere around the 60-70th minute their announcer came on the PA and officially declared playoff tickets on sale immediately after the match.
  • Their douchetastic fans have started what they're calling a "firm" and they are supposedly coming to Salt Lake to show us what a real supporters group looks like. (god I can't wait for Saturday)

For me the trade of Kyle Beckerman for Medhi Ballouchy was one of the best things to happen in the history of Real Salt Lake, out of the shadow of Pablo. Kyle has blossomed into a team leader, a USMNT player, a MLS All-Star, and of course a MLS Cup Champion.  What did Medhi do, a couple years of average play, bad shots, and eventually traded to New York, he is a nice enough guy but RSL clearly got the better player.

I have very little hate for the Rapids, I do find their fans funny, they pretend they want some type of confrontation but then run looking for security when a couple RSL fans go to talk to them.  They love trying to make fun of Salt Lake City and Real Salt Lake, but most often their efforts end up being more laughable.  Now after years of being relegated to various sections around their new stadium, they finally have a place where their supporters can stand and do there best to support their team.  But I often wonder how a Rapids fan can really think their team matters, it clearly doesn't to their owner, who is much busier with his other business operations and sports teams.  How often does their owner hang out with fans before matches?  Heck how often does their owner even show up at matches? I have no doubt that RSL's owner will be on hand Saturday and be cheering his team onto another home victory.

This week MLS Comish "the Don" Garber said that rivalries are a good thing, when talking about the new teams coming into the league next year and the natural rivalry of the teams in the Northwest, but one has to consider the rivalry between Colorado and Real Salt Lake as one of the better ones around MLS as well.

For all the "insults" that the Rapids fans can come up with, the simple reality is this:

We are the Champs!!!