Saturday, November 14, 2009


In dramatic fashion, little used midfielder Ned Grabavoy puts Real Salt Lake through to next Sunday’s MLS Cup in Seattle after putting away the winning penalty kick to best Chicago for the Eastern Conference Championship.  Check this out:


Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  Much better than this premature headline:


The team played pretty well in this one.  They got off to a slow start, absorbing the pressure of the Fire.  They gave up far too many dangerous set pieces, but Chicago failed to capitalize. 

However, RSL held possession really well, and played a good attacking style.  They had numerous chances in the Chicago end, but couldn’t convert.  However, they were money when it came to the penalties.  Nick Rimando in particular came up huge as it appeared that a couple of key misses by the Argentine contingent (Morales, and Espindola) were going to do RSL in.  Rimando was confident and guessed correctly on 3 penalties, making saves on all of them.  In particular, his diving stops to his left on Logan Pause on Brandon Prideaux turned out to be the difference.

Then Ned Grabavoy stepped up to the spot and hit a shot to his left.  Grabavoy was a last second substitute at the end of the second OT period – brought in specifically for penalty kick possibilities.  Keeper Jon Busch guessed correctly sliding to his right after several consecutive moves to his left on prior penalty shots.  He got a piece of the ball, but it still slipped past him and into the net, giving Real Salt Lake their first ever trip to the MLS Cup.