Sporting Kansas City take 2013 MLS Cup in penalties

Published Sunday, December 8, 2013 5:44 AM by Shane Barrow
Sporting Kansas City take 2013 MLS Cup in penalties

Ten rounds of penalty kicks.  That's what it took for Sporting Kansas City to claim the 2013 MLS Cup over a very unlucky Real Salt Lake side.

It was a match that was dictated by the weather.  Especially early on both sides had trouble adjusting to the fozen pitch and a wind chill in the single digits.  Play was choppy, rough and mostly on the ugly side in the opening half.

Things sprung to life in the second half as both team got a bit more comfortable.  A wonderful pass from Kyle Beckerman found Alvaro Saborio in the 52nd minute.  Saborio chested the ball down and drove a low shot past Jimmy Nielsen to put RSL into the lead.

Kansas City set about pushing for the equalizer from there and were putting considerable pressure on the visitors.  Despite the pressure, it was RSL that should have put the game away.  Beckerman ripped a ball off the post and then later Javier Morales chipped a wonderful ball that came back off the post as well.

The unlucky finishes opened the door for Sporting who tied the match through a corner kick as Aurelian Collin rose to head home.  The match went to overtime from there where both sides missed chances.  Graham Zusi saw his blast saved wonderfully by Nick Rimando in the 93rd and Saborio looked to have put RSL ahead a few minutes later but was flagged just offside.

Penalty kicks would be needed and Sporting KC had the chance to win it in the 5th round as Graham Zusi stepped up.  The crowd moaned though as he fired over the top allowing Javier Morales to send it to sudden death.  The next four from both teams made their spotkicks leaving us in the 10th round.

Aurelian Collin placed his penalty perfectly in the corner putting the pressure on Lovel Palmer to keep the match going.  He rifled off the crossbar though and Sporting Kansas City were MLS Champions.

It was very difficult to take for RSL who had several chances to win the match.  "I'd advise you if you have a choice not to go in there. It's bad, real bad,'' Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis said upon emerging from his team's locker room after the game. It's an emotional completion to a long year."

The thrilling victory left the Sporting fans not even caring that it was the coldest MLS Cup in league history.  They celebrated in grand fashion.