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This Day In RSL History: Huge RMC win results in playoff berth.

The last game of 2009 with playoffs on the line.

Colorado Rapids v Real Salt Lake Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

The year was 2009. The final game for both Real Salt Lake and Colorado Rapids, with both the Rocky Mountain Cup and a MLS Playoff berth on the line. The Rapids held all the cards going into this game as they held the final playoff berth 3 points above RSL. All they needed was a win, a draw to win the RMC and a playoff berth; even a low scoring loss they’d lose the cup, but still make the playoffs on the tiebreaker.

RSL had to win by at least 2 goals to even the Goal Differential tiebreaker and win on the third. When the whistle blew RSL were ready to fight out of the gate. Javier Morales unleashed a fierce long-range volley in the 4th minute to open the barrage, Robbie Williams dodges traffic to unleash a shot from the top of the box in the 9th minute. The Rapids get a shot off in the 14th, but it’s easily handled by Nick Rimando who quickly releases the ball to Fabian Espindola who deftly takes it downfield and fires a wicked shot that the Rapids GK barely parries away. Less than a minute later Jamison Olave parries in the opening goal off his chest.

New York Red Bulls v Real Salt Lake Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/MLS via Getty Images

The onslaught continued with Will Johnson taking aim from outside the box in the 19th minute. The Rapids finally woke up and started fighting back forcing Rimando to make some highlight-reel saves, but their pressing opened the door for a counter-attack. Williams gathered the ball in the 33rd minute, and launches the ball to Robbie Findley racing in the open toward the Rapids goal. Findley easily parries past the onrushing keeper and volleys the ball into the empty net. RSL now holds the upper hand.

The 2nd half was very back and forth with the Rapids desperately needing a goal to salvage the playoff spot, but the final dagger came off yet another break-away by Yura Movsisyan in the 85th minute.

RSL wins the Rocky Mountain cup, and the playoff berth with a 3-0 win. They would then go on an amazing run to win the MLS Cup.