Real Salt Lake conceded twice at the start of the second half, then held on as Seattle sought a necessary third goal, claiming a 3-2 aggregate victory Wednesday night in the other Western Conference first-round series to set up a showdown Sunday with the Galaxy or New York Red Bulls.
Osvaldo Alonso converted a penalty kick and Lamar Neagle finished from Fredy Montero's pass five minutes later as the Sounders posted a 2-0 victory in the second leg, not quite enough after RSL romped, 3-0, in its home leg of the two-games, total-goals series Saturday night.
The result knocks out MLS's second-best team this season and ends retiring goalkeeping legend Kasey Keller's career while potentially setting up a rematch of the 2009 MLS Cup final in Sunday's Western Conference final. The Galaxy take a 1-0 advantage into the second leg of their first-round series and will be home Sunday with a draw or better Thursday night against New York.
A one-goal Galaxy loss would force overtime and, to follow, penalty kicks, and New York will head to Sandy, Utah -- a rematch of the 2008 Western Conference final -- with a two-goal victory Thursday at HDC.
Real Salt Lake beat the Galaxy on penalties in the 2009 MLS Cup title game. New York beat RSL in 2008 en route to a MLS Cup loss to Columbus at HDC.
Defending champion Colorado also was eliminated, dropping a 2-0 decision at Eastern Conference regular-season champion Sporting Kansas City, which prevailed, 4-0, on aggregate.
RSL was without injured center backs Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers -- Chris Schuler stepped in to one slot and Chris Wingert shifted inside from left back -- but held tight until referee Jair Marrufo whistled Tony Beltran for grabbing Mike Fucito in the box. Alonso converted the penalty kick in the 56th minute, and Neagle first-timed Montero's diagonal ball past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando to cut the deficit to a goal.
Beltran made the pivotal play, it turned out, heading away a Jeff Parke shot sailing toward the net after beating Rimando in the first half. Seattle was hindered by injuries to midfielders Brad Evans and Alvaro Fernandez in the first 20 minutes.
Sporting, which will be home in the Eastern Conference final Sunday against Houston or Philadelphia, got goals from Aurelien Collin and MLS Rookie of the Year favorite C.J. Sapong off Graham Zusi free kicks to dominate injury-ravaged Colorado on a cold, rainy night in K.C. Houston takes a 2-1 lead into its home leg Thursday night against Philly.
Sporting Livestrong Park (Kansas City, Kan.)
Sporting Kansas City 2, Colorado Rapids 0
(Sporting Kansas City advances on aggregate, 4-0)
SKC -- Aurelien Collin (Graham Zusi) 28
SKC -- C.J. Sapong (Graham Zusi) 76
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Seth Sinovic, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Chance Myers; C.J. Sapong, Roger Espinoza (Davy Arnaud, 46), Graham Zusi, Julio Cesar (Birahim Diop, 79); Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury (Soony Saad, 87).
Colorado Rapids: Matt Pickens; Wells Thompson, Marvell Wynne, Scott Palguta, Miguel Comminges; Brian Mullan, Joseph Nane (Macoumba Kandji, 56), Jeff Larentowicz, Ross LaBauex (Eddie Ababio, 80); Omar Cummings (Quincy Amarikwa, 46), Sanna Nyassi.
Yellow cards: Nane 27, Espinoza 35, Julio Cesar 48+, Comminges 55, Arnaud 65, Mullan 75, Nyassi 93+.
Referee: Kevin Stott. Att.: 18,565.
CenturyLink Field (Seattle)
Seattle Sounders 2, Real Salt Lake 0
(Real Salt Lake advances on aggregate, 3-2)
S -- Osvaldo Alonso pen. 56
S -- Lamar Neagle (Fredy Montero, Osvaldo Alonso) 61
Seattle Sounders: Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Brad Evans (Roger Levesque, 21), Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle, 14); Mike Fucito (Sammy Ochoa, 76), Fredy Montero.
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Robbie Russell, Chris Schuler, Chris Wingert, Tony Beltran; Will Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales (Luis Gil, 89), Andy Williams (Ned Grabavoy, 57); Alvaro Saborio (Yordany Alvarez, 76), Fabian Espindola.
Yellow cards: Beltran 55, Rimando 56, Levesque 62, Gonzalez 92+.
Referee: Jair Marrufo. Att.: 36,021.
FIRST ROUND, SECOND LEG
Sporting Kansas City 2 (Collin 28, Sapong 76), Colorado 0
+ Sporting Kansas City advances on aggregate, 4-0
Seattle 2 (Alonso pen. 56, Neagle 61), Real Salt Lake 0
+ Real Salt Lake advances on aggregate, 3-2
Philadelphia at Houston, 5:30 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)
New York vs. Galaxy at Home Depot Center (Carson), 8 p.m. (ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)
Western (Real Salt Lake vs. Galaxy/New York) or Eastern (Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia/Houston) final, 2:30 p.m. (Fox Soccer Channel)
Western (Real Salt Lake vs. Galaxy/New York) or Eastern (Sporting Kansas City vs. Philadelphia/Houston) final, time TBA (ESPN or ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes)
MLS CUP 2011
Sunday, Nov. 20
At Home Depot Center (Carson), 7 p.m. (ESPN and Galavision)
Wednesday, Oct. 26
FC Dallas 0, New York 1 (Lindpere 61)
Thursday, Oct. 27
Colorado 1 (Cummings 45), Columbus 0
FIRST ROUND, FIRST LEG
Saturday, Oct. 29
Real Salt Lake 3 (Saborio 41, 53, Grabavoy 88), Seattle 0
Sunday, Oct. 30
New York 0, Galaxy 1 (Magee 15)
Philadelphia 1 (Le Toux 7), Houston 2 (Hainault 6, Carr 30)
Colorado 0, Sporting Kansas City 2 (Bunbury 49, 59)