Colorado Rapids disappointed after pyrrhic victory sees them win Rocky Mountain Cup but eliminated from playoff contention

COMMERCE CITY, Colo.- By virtue of Sunday’s result against Real Salt Lake, the Colorado Rapids brought the Rocky Mountain Cup back to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the first time since 2013. Colorado earned silverware, but it was one of few silver linings following a 2-1 loss to their Western Conference rivals, one which eliminated Colorado from Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoff contention.

“I’m happy we won the cup,” Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni said postgame. “How we won it was disappointing. I’m happy for the fans, but the way we did it leaves a void. Especially after the way we started.”

“We’re definitely disappointed to win a Rocky Mountain Cup and have it not feel like a win. The locker room is devastated, our guys are down and our season is officially out of playoff contention,” added Bobby Burling, the Colorado Springs native who donned the armband for the Rapids. “To win a Rocky Mountain Cup, obviously we did that, but we feel we didn’t do that in the right way. We feel like we let the fans down tonight.”

A common narrative throughout the season, the Rapids started bright only to find themselves scrapping for a result in the game’s late stages.  An early lead on a goal from Kevin Doyle put Colorado in front 1-0, but momentum reversed after conceding twice on responses from Joao Plata and Luke Mulholland.

“There was a stretch in the first half where they got control of the game and scored two really good goals,” explained Burling. “A twenty minute stretch where we lost our shape, our possession and our mindset.”

Defensive breakdowns have also been a common theme for Colorado, which extended its current losing streak to three games and four out of the last five.

Said Burling: “It’s one of those things where when buried in the table like this, we’re pushing for wins and sometimes that can come back to get you. We haven’t been good enough defensively and it’s definitely something that sticks out. We were desperate for wins and pushing guys forward to try to get numbers in the box, but leaving ourselves exposed on the counter.”

Regarding trying to get results in the season's final three games, the sentiment was unanimous.

“It’s disappointing to lose tonight in front of our home fans with [one home game] left. It’s been frustrating riding the highs and riding the lows,” said Burling. “I hope we show some heart and fight these last three games because the fans and the club deserve it.”