RSL Wins! Some News for Monday the 23rd
The Galaxy were supposed to be the favorites.
With two designated players and stingy defense, the best in the west was supposed to run away with the game. Beckham and Donovan would celebrate together. Once enemies, now friends, the light bulbs would pop, the champagne would flow, and a happy ending for the whole MLS and Beckham marketing team would be in place.
It was not to be. In fact, the Galaxy were a long way off from being the best team on the field for all of the second half, overtime, as well as section of the first half. The crowd was firmly behind Real Salt Lake, and for the first time in quite a few games, I heard audible boos when Beckham was on the ball.
When penalty kicks inevitably rolled around the man who never misses a penalty shot high, and Real Salt Lake were crowned kings. Let no one say they don’t deserve it. Kries brought the best out of RSL, and at the perfect time. When other team faded down the stretch, Real Salt Lake beat two heavy favorites, Columbus and Chicago, handily about the head, legs, and other tender areas.
Forget the below .500 nonsense people are naturally gravitating and complaining about, Kries timed the run perfectly. They found their away form when it counted; it counted big time; and Real Salt Lake walk away deserved winners.
After this game has disappeared into the depth of my mind I know there are three moments that will not fade. The exact details of every play and failed attack are now slipping away but I won’t forget:
1. After a hard challenge by Beckham, Javier Morales was forced to come off the field. As he trudged off, he fought a losing battle to keep the tears back. After a full season, the playmaker was leaving the game and it was more than he could handle. As he sat on the bench, shirt pulled over his head, the camera panned up to find Jason Kries wiping a tear away from his eye.
It was a touching moment and it showed just how much the game meant.
2. With pain visible on his face, Beckham stepped up to the penalty spot. As he waited to take the penalty he looked years older, pain etched across his face. He of course stroked the ball into the lower left corner.
3. Nick Rimando has to be crowned as the savior of Real Salt Lake. The master penalty shot stopper again stepped up the plate and knocked away two penalties. For the second week in a row he carried Real Salt Lake to a win. The image of Rimando leaping through the air to stop a penalty will forever be connected with the 2009 MLS Cup.
MLS CUP REVIEW
LA Galaxy 1-1 Real Salt Lake - tied after added extra time - RSL win 4-5 in Penalty Kick Shoot Out.
Venue: Qwest Field – Seattle WA
Andy Williams the day after on Twitter - "Wooooow can't believe I don't have a hangover."
Box scores from the Seattle Times.
Steve Kelly of the Seattle Times says it was a great end to the first season of MLS soccer in Seattle.
Believe it! says the Salt Lake Tribune.
They did it! yells the Deseret News.
RSL was saved by the subs claim the Tribune.
Graham Jones of the LA Times breaks down the game.
Ive’s, writing for ESPN, focuses on the low end to the season for Donovan.
Steve Davies focuses on Rimando’s part in setting up the RSL win.
The title win is the first pro-sport titles for Salt Lake since ’84
Cheering fans greeted RSL when they touched down in Salt Lake.
What a season. And already the drama is building up for the next season. The coaching carousal is in full swing. Sampson might be returning to the Home Depot Center, the NASL is returning, the collective bargaining agreement has to be signed, young stars are exiting MLS only to be replaced with new hope, new stadiums are being built and opened, and new teams will be announced. I’m looking forward to it all.
Till next time.
Graham Fox (firstname.lastname@example.org)