DENVER — The several hundred Colorado Rapids fans at the Celtic Tavern in downtown Denver may have been a little drunk on the excitement of their teams’ first ever MLS Championship, but it didn’t mean they couldn’t reflect on the magic ingredients that brought the team to such lofty heights in 2010.
The team may not have played the prettiest soccer all year, but they had a chemistry and a self-belief that trumped everything, said Bishop Ostteen, a long-suffering Rapids season ticket holder.
“I’ve never seen a team come together like this team,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “It seems like they love each other on the field, love each other off the field. And it translated into a championship. That’s all I can say.”
To Ostteen, it was no surprise that Colorado and Dallas were the two MLS Cup teams because they had been playing the best soccer in the run-up to the postseason and had continued that form into the playoffs.
“And I have no surprise the Rapids were the champions in the end," Ostteen said. "They fought for it.”
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Ron Ringueberg, aka "Ringshot," a well-known figure on the Rapids terraces, credited the Rapids’ success to the crucial additions to the team this year, such as Jeff Larentowicz and Brian Mullan.
“That was the key to this season,” he said. “Hats off to Jeff Plush (GM), coach Smith and Paul Bravo (technical director) for bringing in and making some critical changes. It kept building and building and I could feel it coming.”
Such changes may have been key but it was the ever reliable veteran and club captain Pablo Mastroeni whom Ringueberg singled out for special praise.
“He’s always the root of the defense,” he said. “He keeps it all together, front and back.”
There were differing opinions among the fans about who was man of the match. Some said Larentowicz, some said Matt Pickens who came up so big right at the death with his save from George John at the end of extra time. But, in reality, the general consensus was that it was a team effort. A real team performance to cap off a fantastic team effort all year.
“The Rapids played a really tough game and they hung in there the entire time,” said Katie Roccry, a Virginia native who promised to become a season ticket holder next year when the Rapids defend their MLS championship.