In a surprising Eastern Conference semifinal finish, Real Salt Lake defeated 2008 MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew, 3-2, at Crew Stadium on Thursday, advancing to the Eastern Conference final. RSL awaits the winner of the Chicago Fire-New England Revolution Eastern Conference semifinal series, which wraps up at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview (televised on Fox Soccer Channel).
Real Salt Lake won its semifinal series on aggregate, 4-2. Chicago or New England will host the Eastern Conference title game on Saturday, Nov. 14 (televised on FSC).
Columbus was the top team in the Eastern Conference and won the Supporters' Shield this season, posting a 13-7-10 record and 49 points during the regular season.
RSL plays in the Western Conference, but in Major League Soccer's playoff format, if more than four teams qualify from one conference, the team finishing lower than fourth shifts to the other conference bracket. RSL had the lowest points total (40) among the eight postseason teams and moved over to the East side.
Columbus briefly held the aggregate lead Thursday night over RSL after 2008 MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto scored the game's first two goals for the Crew. But Real Salt Lake scored three unanswered to advance in the playoffs. RSL's final goal of the series came from former Fire midfielder Andy Williams in the 74th minute.