The Rapids are the MLS Cup Champions
A short story about the Rapids
Benjamin Kowalsky
Nov 22nd 2010

Flash Back.

Itís England, 1995. A 27 year old midfielder realizes that heíll never play another professional soccer match again. At a young age, which should be the best playing years of his life, beset by injury after suspension after injury: he understands that his playing days are over.

Flash Forward.

Itís Toronto, 2010. Now Manager Gary Smith lifts the MLS Cup trophy with the team that he coached to victory. He turned around a team of misfits and castoffs from write-offs to Champions after only 2 Ĺ seasons in charge.

Flash Back.

Itís Germany, 2006 and Pablo Mastroeni has been ejected from the World Cup with a Red Card. At home, his club career is doing no better. Year after year it seems to just get worse. He contemplates a move to Spain when a new manager comes to him with a proposition and a plan: to win the MLS Cup. Give him a chance, he says. Pablo trusts the new manager, and puts his name on the dotted line.

Flash Forward.

Itís Tornto, 2010. Team Captain Pablo Mastroeni lifts the MLS Cup for the first time in his 10 year professional career in MLS. He had gotten the only goal in a match that would ensure Colorado drew level enough with Columbus to go to penalty kicks.

Flash Back.

Itís Honduras, 2009. Conor Casey scores two goals to qualify his country for the World Cup. Months later, he receives a call from Bob Bradley telling him that he will not be included in the selection for the US Menís National Team in South Africa.

Flash Forward

Itís Toronto, 2010. Conor Casey lifts the MLS Cup trophy: the first league championship trophy in his entire career. His two clutch goals, and one assist, saved the Rapids not on just one, but two occasions.

Flash Back.

Itís Kobe, Japan. About 10 years ago. A young right back tries to come back from an injury, and gets told by a coach that heíll never play professional soccer. He decides to take the journey to a place heís never been in pursuit of the dream of becoming a pro soccer player.

Flash Forward.

Itís Toronto, 2010. Kosuke Kimura lifts the MLS Cup trophy: after four years of showing up early for practice, and being the last to leave. Practicing crosses every day that would one day make him the hero on the pitch against San Jose to put his team into the MLS Cup Final.

Flash Back.

Itís Dallas, 2009. Dallas native, Dallas FC Defender, and die-hard Dallas FC fan Drew Moor gets called into the managerís office where Schellas Hyndmann tells him that heís been traded to another club. Non-negotiable. Effective Immediately. Moor packs his bags, says goodbye to his family, and heads out to Colorado.

Flash Forward.

Itís Toronto, 2010. Drew Moor lifts the MLS Cup trophy, the first of his career. After saving the game for the Rapids in the dying minutes of the game by clearing the last dangerous ball from Dallasí Jeff Cunningham off the line. Drew had played every minute of every game in the season, becoming the Rapidsí own Ironman.

Flash back

Its Denver, 2009. Im standing next to Gary Smith watching Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy fight to take the MLS Cup. After having seen the Rapids dumped out of the running by RSL for the third season in a row. I watch the Rapids players watching the game. Disappointment carved into every glance at the televisions. When Salt Lake raises the MLS Cup Trophy, I have to look away. I say "Soccer is a cruel game."

Flash Forward.

Denver, 2010. Im being passed around for hugs with beer spilling on me from all directions. The screaming and streamers and balloons are flying through the air. Songs fill the air as the final whistle is blown confirming, once and for all, that the Colorado Rapids are the MLS Cup Champions in 2010.

The fact that I could go on and on like this shows you what kind of a team the Rapids in 2010 were. I could tell you about Mac Kandji packing his bags for a cross-country trip to the Rocky Mountains. About Claudio Lopez waiting patiently to see if someone would pick up his option. About Omar Cummings and his four-year journey to become the Rapidsí superstar that he is today. About 19-year-old Davy Armstrong growing up watching the Rapids, now standing with them to hold their first MLS Cup Trophy.

I could tell you about each of them, and youíd say to me ďAnd these guys won the cup?Ē Iíd tell you that they did. Iíd be able to tell you proudly that this group of misfits and cast-offs, written off every step of the way by the haters and the critics, now hold the MLS Cup. After 15 years, the Rapids now can put a star above their badge. After 15 long years of heartbreak, years of mediocrity and missed chances: The Colorado Rapids lift the MLS Cup together.

There are so many stories that went in to making this Cup a possibility. Iíd like to take this opportunity now, as I am a blogger and this is what I get to do, to thank the Colorado Rapids: the Technical Staff, the Fans Iíve met over this fantastic season, and of course the Players. This was a season to remember. And nothing would have sufficed as a cap to this wonderful story that weíve all been telling than to have the MLS Cup take itís place in the trophy case at DSG: an inspiration to the future generations of Rapids players.

Out of many stories of pain and bitter years, we made one story. One that, for the Rapids faithful, has a happy ending.

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