RSL upset Galaxy in MLS final

by Neil Sherwin

Real Salt Lake has secured the 2009 MLS Cup with an upset win over Los Angeles Galaxy in Seattle on Sunday night.

MLS Cup - Los Angeles Galaxy v Real Salt Lake

Semi final hero Nick Rimando was again the headline maker as he saved two penalties in a shootout after the game finished 1-1 after extra time.

For RSL it was their first MLS title, but it was heartbeak for David Beckham’s Galaxy, with MLS MVP Landon Donovan one of three LA players to miss from the spot.

MLS Cup - Los Angeles Galaxy v Real Salt Lake

“I think me and all the guys knew that if it came down to penalty kicks we were confident just going back to last week,” said Rimando.

“We handled business in Chicago.”

Galaxy had gone ahead in the 41st minute when Beckham and Donovan combined to set up Mike Magee for a neat finish at the far post.

However RSL got back on level terms just after the hour mark when top scorer Robbie Findley pounced on a rebound to equalise.

The game ebbed and flowed with both sides having their fair share of chances but neither was able to convert so the game moved into 30 minutes of extra time.

RSL were the better side as fatigue kicked in with a number of players, and Beckham was noticeably favouring an injured ankle that he has been nurssing for a few weeks.

Again the sides couldn’t be seperated in open play so penalties were needed to decide the outcome.

Beckham, Clint Mathis, Gregg Berhalter and Findley all converted before former Crystal Palace striker Jovan Kirovski saw his effort saved by Rimando.

However, Galaxy keeper Josh Saunders kept his side in it with a smart save but Donovan, normally lethal from 12 yards, blazed over.

“The penalty I hit just like any penalty,” said Donovan.

“I made sure he was going the other way and I closed my body. I just put it in the air.

“You know, it’s probably partially due to tired legs and not concentrating in that moment.”

The sides were level again when Andy Williams missed but Rimando’s save from Eddie Bundle in sudden death was crucial as defender Robbie Russell sealed the win when he scored his penalty.

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