The Colorado Rapids were crowned champions of Major League Soccer for the first time after a 2-1 extra-time win over FC Dallas on Sunday.
Dallas took the lead on 35 minutes when Colombian David Ferreira converted a superb cross from Marvin Chavez. Colorado drew level through a scrambled effort in the 57th minute when striker Conor Casey scooped the ball home while lying on the floor.
Colorado’s winner came in extra time when a shot from substitute Macoumba Kandji was deflected in by Dallas defender George John.
Captain Pablo Mastroeni was proud of the effort of his team that saw them raise the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy for the first time in their history.
“I’m just excited. The feeling really hasn’t set it yet,” said Mastroeni after the match. “What has though is the resolve we’ve had all year to continue to do what we’re doing. We’ve always had such a belief in one another. When you’re winning it’s easy to say, but even when you’re losing.
“For the guys to be rewarded with a championship means everything to me. It’s been a collective group effort and I’m so excited that we were able to lift that trophy today.”
Coach Gary Smith said the winning goal came as a result of the pressure his players exerted on their opponents.
“Honestly, I don’t mind how they (goals) come,” said Smith at the post-game press conference. “If they’re winners, it doesn’t matter. The overriding thoughts have to be, for someone to score an own goal, they have to be under some pressure to make a mistake. You don’t get too many volleys that go in from 40 yards. I was just pleased that the guys were able to mount enough of an attack to make a difference.”
Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said he hadn’t spoken to John about the own goal.
“The game of soccer is a cruel game,” he said. “You play for 90-plus minutes and it’s a game of inches — it’s a deflection ball that goes in the goal and you say how does that happen. You have good chances that don’t go in and again you how did that happen. As I said to the players, I was very proud of them, they gave everything they had.”