TORONTO – The last time that 2010 MLS Cup finalists FC Dallas and the Colorado Rapids met in a postseason match, it ended in a penalty-kick shootout and a brawl ensued as the Rapids celebrated a playoff victory on enemy territory at Pizza Hut Park on Oct. 28, 2006.
The goalkeeper for FC Dallas at the time was current back-up Dario Sala, and the veteran Argentine points the finger at Colorado captain Pablo Mastroeni – who netted the final PK against Sala to eliminate Dallas – as the instigator of the melee.
“He disrespected the fans in Dallas and that’s what happened then,” Sala said after his team arrived into Toronto on Tuesday. “Pablo is like that. He provokes players as well as the fans. Hopefully now we’re the ones laughing in his face [on Sunday]. Not to provoke, but because we will have won.”
Sala claims a similar scenario also occurred at Real Salt Lake after a Rapids road win. The neutral crowd at BMO Field on Sunday in the MLS Cup final will make for a different scenario.
[inline_node:322072]“Hopefully, they celebrate in peace if they have to celebrate," he said of the Rapids, "and if not, that they cry in peace in their hotel."
There is clearly no love lost between Mastroeni and Sala. The fact that the Rapids captain was also born in Argentina has done little to endear themselves to one another.
“In general, all Argentines or half-Argentines in the league, we say hello to each other, eat out with each other and we fraternize,” Sala said. “He’s always been the exception.”
The 36-year-old FCD ‘keeper, who lost his starting job to Goalkeeper of the Year finalist Kevin Hartman, admits to being close friends with at least one Rapids player – reserve and former Argentine international Claudio Lopez.
However, the two will not speak to each other this week. Instead, Sala says it will be “to the death” between them as they both battle for their first MLS Cup titles.
Sala may be the only FC Dallas holdout from that melee in 2006, but he says that the sparks will still be flying on Sunday.
“We do have a history against Colorado and there has always been animosity between us,” Sala said. “The final is not going to be the exception.”