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From a Chicago Fire viewer's perspective, the MLS Cup had a remarkably similar feel to the previous week in the Eastern Conference final.
|Real Salt Lake's Robbie Findley had the equalizer in the 64th minute Sunday during the MLS Cup in Seattle.|
Real Salt Lake came through in a shootout once again, defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 5-4 in penalty kicks to win their first championship Sunday night at Qwest Field in Seattle. RSL topped the Fire 5-4 in PKs the previous week after a scoreless match through regulation and overtime.
On Sunday, the surprising element of the PKs was L.A.'s Landon Donovan kicking the ball over the crossbar and opening the door for RSL. Former Chicago Fire Reserves player and Joliet native Ned Grabavoy then gave RSL a 3-2 lead. The Galaxy's Mike Magee, a South Barrington native, tied it up at 3-3. Former Fire midfielder Andy Williams of RSL had an opportunity to come through with the winner. But Williams' attempt was saved by Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
Williams' teammate, goalkeeper Nick Rimando, picked up the slack once again like he did against Chicago. He made two saves and earned MLS Cup MVP. Robbie Russell had the game-winning PK.
"I think me and all the guys knew that if it came to penalty kicks, we were confident," Rimando said in the postgame press conference. "We handled our business in Chicago, but tonight I really think we could have won this in regulation."
In regulation, L.A.'s Magee had the game's first goal in the 41st minute. David Beckham played the ball to the right flank to Donovan, who then found Magee on the far left post. Magee tapped the ball in with his left foot past Rimando for a 1-0 Galaxy lead.
Robbie Findley had RSL's equalizer in the 64th minute.
In stoppage time of the second 15-minute overtime, Williams was just out of reach of a potential game-winner.
Clint Mathis had the short pass from the right side. But an exhausted Williams could not extend his foot out far enough for the ball. He collapsed to the ground with complete exhaustion as stoppage time ran out and the match went to penalty kicks.