Don Ryan, AP
Real Salt Lake team members celebrate after winning the Western Conference finals in the MLS Cup soccer playoffs against the Portland Timbers Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

In nearly every run to a championship on the field of play, there are matches full of agony and ecstacy, contests clouded by moments of doubt and victories followed by hours of sheer joy.

Twice in the past five Major League Soccer seasons, Real Salt Lake has ridden this wave of emotion and momentum to a berth in the MLS Cup. Real will be attempting to win its second league championship when it takes on Sporting KC in the title game Saturday (2 p.m. MST, ESPN).

Both this season and in 2009, Real Salt Lake endured trials during the season, then enjoyed key moments and clutch plays during the playoffs to advance to the championship game.

Here's a look back at the journey for RSL in 2013 and 2009:

Whitney O'Bannon is a new media sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow on Twitter at @whitney_oban.