Crazy weather greeted Colorado Rapids as they battled Real Salt Lake to a 2-2 draw at Dick's Sporting Goods Park to regain the Rocky Mountain Cup. Led by goals Deshorn Brown (who should have nominated for goal of the week) and Jaime Castrillon the Rapids came from behind twice to bring their season record to 9-7-8 and remained in second position in the Western Conference table.
Cue the music for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The Cup is Home: It has been stated in many forums how important it was to take back the Rocky Mountain Cup for the first time since 2006. To see the lads walk with the cup around the pitch was a wonderful thing and it meant the world to the supporters that braved the elements to see this.
Defensive Miscues: The two RSL goals were a result of defensive mistakes. The first RSL goal was a defensive breakdown where German Mera lost his man and Marvell Wynne left his man completely unmarked. The second was when Drew Moor tackled an RSL player in the box. The issue was German Mera was right there to help, and Moor did not need to cause the foul that led to the second RSL goal. These kind of things can't happen for a team that, admittedly, still struggles with scoring goals.
The Numbers: As has been mentioned before, sitting second in the Western Conference table is a bit misleading. Every team that is in the Western Conference playoff race has at least one game in hand. Four teams have two in hand and Seattle Sounders have four games in hand. This makes things tough on the Rapids. But there are encouraging signs to point to. In the last seven matches, here is what the table looks like:
Colorado Rapids, 4-0-3, 15 points, 2.14 points per game
Los Angeles Galaxy, 4-3-0, 12 points, 1.71 points per game
San Jose Earthquakes, 4-3-0, 12 points, 1.71 points per game
Real Salt Lake, 3-2-2, 11 points, 1.57 points per game
Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 3-2-2, 11 points, 1.57 points per game
Seattle Sounders FC, 3-3-1, 10 points, 1.43 points per game
Portland Timbers, 2-2-3, 9 points, 1.28 points per game
Chivas USA, 1-3-3, 6 points, 0.86 points per game
FC Dallas, 0-3-4, 4 points, 0.57 points per game
Obviously, the Rapids are on a great run of form and go to Chivas USA on Sunday night. But they simply cannot afford any slip-ups along the way. They still have three very important matches against Vancouver. All but one of their remaining ten matches are against the Western Conference, so they have the opportunity to "take care of business" going forward.
So, the Rocky Mountain Cup is home. The Rapids sit in second place. People in Major League Soccer seem to be finally taking notice. Can the Rapids continue to deliver? The confidence in the group is high and they have two very winnable games in the next two weeks. A new striker (Vicente Sanchez) has been signed and the possibility of a first-ever DP still exists. What is the ceiling for this team? I am not sure, but I do know that the next three months are gonna be a hell of a lot of fun.