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Real Salt Lake still can't stop Colorado

Published May 1, 2007 at midnight

SALT LAKE CITY - There's something about playing in Utah and against Real Salt Lake that brings out the best in the Colorado Rapids.

The Rapids beat Real Salt Lake 2-0 on Monday night, equaling their best start in franchise history through four games. Colorado has seven points, which ties the team's previous best, in 2002.

The Rapids also improved their record to 3-1-1 in Utah and 6-2-1 overall against Real Salt Lake. Colorado's success at Rice-Eccles Stadium is a sore spot for local fans, who threw cups and trash onto the field after Kyle Beckerman scored in the 75th minute to give the Rapids a 2-0 lead.

After the match ended, a handful of players from each team argued and had to be separated. The rivalry has become as heated as any in Major League Soccer.

"It definitely comes from their fans," Beckerman said. "They run their mouths the whole game. If they don't want us to celebrate, win the game."

Pablo Mastroeni, who moved to the back line Monday, stoked the rivalry last year with an exuberant celebration after a victory at Rice-Eccles. On Monday night, he was the target of Real Salt Lake fans, who booed him every time he touched the ball.

"They were throwing things and that's great; that's soccer all over the world," Mastroeni said. "To have that kind of rivalry with a team across the mountains is beautiful."

It took a while, but the Rapids' attack arrived in time to pick up a victory and three points Monday. Roberto Brown scored an unassisted goal in the 71st minute to put the Rapids ahead 1-0.

Brown put a move on defender Daniel Torres, forcing him to fall, and beat rookie goalkeeper Chris Seitz.

It was Brown's second winning goal in his second full game. He played 6 minutes in Colorado's draw with Chicago before getting a red card. The resulting suspension caused him to miss the team's loss against FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas.

"He was unbelievable (Monday)," Beckerman said. "He battled for every ball. He took the one mistake they gave him and buried it with a classy goal. That was big for us because it really got us over the hump in this game."

Colorado seemingly added to its lead shortly thereafter. After a back pass on Jack Stewart, the Rapids had a free kick. Herculez Gomez shot it and beat Seitz, but it was disallowed because the referee hadn't blown his whistle to start play.

It was a moot point, though because Beckerman scored off a deflection after play was officially restarted. It was Beckerman's first goal of the season.

"I thought it was a good goal Herculez Gomez scored before that," Beckerman said. "I just hammered it and tried to keep it on goal. It took a deflection and went in."

Rapids 2, Real Salt Lake 0

Colorado......0 2 - 2
Real Salt Lake......0 0 - 0

First half - None.

Second half - 1, Colorado, Brown 2, 71st. 2, Colorado, Beckerman 1, 75th.

Goalies - Colorado, Coundoul; Real Salt Lake, Seitz.

A - 14,173 (27,000).

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