Real Salt Lake: RSL's quest to win MLS Cup comes up agonizingly short in Kansas City
“Both teams couldn’t settle things down at all. We were panic stations when we got the ball, giving it away too cheaply. Both teams played very direct in the first half,” said Kreis.
Early in the second half Real Salt Lake settled into the game, and not surprisingly its goal game shortly thereafter.
RSL broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute when Saborio chested down a cheeky chip from Beckerman and blasted it past Nielsen for the 1-0 lead.
The goal sent RSL’s 1,500 fans in the corner of Sporting Park into pandemonium as their club was 38 minutes from lifting MLS Cup.
Over the next 21 minutes RSL twice came agonizingly close to doubling that advantage, but was denied by the post each time. Beckerman’s shot in the 62nd minute caromed off the post and over the end line, and then in the 73rd minute Morales chipped a shot over Nielsen that hit the left post and then trickled across the goalmouth and out over the end line again.
“To be honest I think this group is a little bit used to that. We’ve had a lot of games where the ball comes off the woodwork,” said Kreis, who quickly added: “Kansas City had a couple clear-cut chances they didn’t put on the frame. I could whine about hitting the posts. (Kansas City coach Peter Vermes) could whine (that) his players should’ve put them on frame.”
Just three minutes after Morales was denied, Collin injected life into a dormant Kansas City side by heading home a Zusi corner kick to level the proceedings at 1-1.
The last 10 minutes of regulation were shaky for both sides, but particularly for RSL with Kansas City trying to build on the late momentum.
The fatigue of playing on a frozen field started to catch up with both teams in overtime, which quickly set the stage for penalties.
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