WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS - MY FRIEND!
Rapids ride own goal, survive wild finish to win MLS Cup
TORONTO – Colorado Rapids, welcome to Major League Soccer royalty.
After 15 seasons spent watching other league original franchises carve their identities with success and silverware, Denver’s team is finally a league champion.
The Rapids used a scrappy goal from Conor Casey and a game-winning own goal deep into stoppage time to claw their way to a chilly, chippy and ultimately cathartic 2-1 win over FC Dallas in the MLS Cup on Sunday night at BMO Field.
The title is the first in franchise history for Colorado, who’ve overhauled nearly everything except their team name since their only other MLS Cup appearance in 1997. But whether it was the team logo (they’ve had three), the coach (they’re on their fifth), or their team colors (from green and blue then to burgundy and sky blue now), nothing seemed to finally do the trick until Sunday night.
Slightly more than two months ago, the Colorado Rapids lost 3-1 to New York in what appeared to be a relatively comfortable win for the Red Bulls and their famous Designated Players.
Yet after the game, it was the Rapids and their coach, Gary Smith, who were talking tough, insisting the game was closer than the score suggested, and saying how much they’d love another crack at a New York team that was then in ascendancy.
At the time, it seemed like hollow posturing. When the teams announced a trade the following day, with Colorado sending midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy to New York in exchange for Macoumba Kandji, most observers agreed that Ballouchy’s season, not Kandji’s, would trend upward after the move.