Two years have passed since Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber used a news conference to lay out in detail why he hated Real Salt Lake.
It's been three years since SKC striker Dom Dwyer publicly expressed similar disdain.
That wasn't enough time enough to wipe out RSL and SKC's long rivalry before Saturday, when the No. 1 team in the Western Conference came to Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time this season.
"I think both teams have a good amount of guys, a core group of guys, that are still around that were a part of a lot of those big games," veteran defender Chris Wingert said in training ahead of the match. "So absolutely, and especially meeting this time of the year, them being in first place and us trying to get back in the mix, I'm sure it's going to be a battle."
Included in that core group were Feilhaber and Dwyer. Feilhaber started at left mid Saturday, and Dwyer was available off the bench.
The seeds of the rivalry can be traced back to a 2011 preseason match in Arizona featuring a benches-clearing brawl.
Then in 2013, Sporting KC beat RSL with a last-minute shot in the regular season and then went on to claim the MLS Cup in a 20-penalty-kick shootout.
"I think those games are pretty memorable against Kansas City," right back Tony Beltran said Friday. "Obviously 2013, the final sticks out, but really every affair with them sticks out because there's some kind of drama, and it's always a good game as well, so I'm sure [the fans] will be up for it."
The rivalry was colored with well-documented slights and tiffs leveled from both sides over the years. Between that and the high stakes matches, the fans weren't inclined to forget the teams' history.
"Rio Tinto's always loud," Beltran said, "but I think the crowd understands those kind of matchups, and they feed off of it a little bit. And then when things happen on the field that only fuels their flame, which makes it fun for us players. So when the crowd gets behind us, that's when it's really fun for us."
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman remained suspended for Saturday's match after the independent panel rejected RSL's appeal to rescind the red card he was issued in Wednesday's 4-1 win at Portland.
In Beckerman's absence, Sunday Stephen slid over to the left side, and Luke Mulholland started at right mid. Goalkeeper Nick Rimando wore the captain's armband.
Yura Movisyan (hip) was available in Saturday's match but started on the bench.
A hip injury sustained over the Gold Cup break kept him out of the lineup Monday against Manchester United and Wednesday at Portland.
Left back Demar Phillips was not able to return to action Saturday after he suffered a left hamstring contusion at Portland on Wednesday.