MLS Cup Recap: RSL New Champs

MLS Cup Recap: RSL New Champs

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On November 23, 2009
  • 2 Comments
  • 2009 MLS Cup, Bruce Arena, David Beckham, Donovan Ricketts, Jason Kreis, Javier Morales, Josh Saunders, Kyle Beckerman, Landon Donovan, Nick Rimando
Real Salt Lake took home their first hardware. (Getty Images)

Real Salt Lake took home their first hardware. (Getty Images)

I decided not to write a recap last night after the game finished up. Mainly I was exhausted from watching the game that went into penalties. MLS Cup 2009 wasn’t the very best game of the year but it definitely provided plenty of drama. From key injuries to key goals the game was compelling and exciting.

The PKs were kind of expected of this game after things were tied up going into overtime. Both teams were totally gassed on the field and just looked like they’d rather get it to the penalties rather than make something happen in the extra frames.

Injuries played a huge part in this game. Javier Morales’s knee injury really hurt RSL’s momentum in the first half, which the Galaxy did an excellent job of taking advantage of. The Galaxy found great space with Landon Donovan and David Beckham which lead to Mike Magee’s goal late in the half. The first half really was controlled by Bruce Arena’s squad.

But some halftime switches by Jason Kreis really turned things in RSL’s favor. Either it was the right halftime speech or the move to get the sick Will Johnson out that paid off but whatever was said or done by Kreis fueled his club. RSL came out with more energy than before and really caught the Galaxy off guard with Yura Movsisyan and Robbie Findley. Once the attack got going for RSL it was only a matter of time before Findley put away a goal.

The game from there was a bit back and forth. The Galaxy controlled the ball late while RSL took things into their own hands to start the first extra frame. The second overtime was a bit back and forth as well but both teams were clearly exhausted.

The PKs were what we expected, loads of drama. Key guys like Kyle Beckerman and Donovan missed their chances. MLS Cup MVP Nick Rimando continued to be the king of PKs as he stopped a couple big shots.

RSL is now the champions of Major League Soccer. Some called it in the pre-season but not many really expected this outside of Utah. Congrats to RSL and Jason Kreis on a job well done.

Extra Notes:

– With the win RSL becomes the first American sports team in 60 years to win a title with a losing regular season record. No doubt many will put them down as the worst team to win a MLS title ever here. Least deserving based on their record yes but based on the late run they certainly deserved the hardware with the big wins on the road.

– Saying that I still do wish the league would reconsider their playoff format here for the higher seeds. Either do away with the first round being a home-and-away series and make it a single game knockout like the rest of the playoffs. Or give us a 1 v. 8, 2 v. 7, etc. format instead of this east and west thing. Keep the conferences for league play but not the playoffs.

– Back up keeper Josh Saunders came on late for the Galaxy when Donovan Ricketts injured his hand. Saunders proved to be a solid backup and had the Galaxy won you gotta bet there would be a couple clubs around the league calling his name for a starting gig next year. Judging on the brief play last night I wouldn’t be shocked if some teams offer the Galaxy a trade for the young keeper.

– Fun thought on RSL too. Think back to that trade that brought Kyle Beckerman there from Colorado. The two clubs have pretty much gone in opposite directions since that trade.

– Donovan pulled a Roberto Baggio in his PK. Should we be shocked? Yes because he typically hammers these home. Hopefully this won’t affect him too long because we need him to be clutch next summer if a game comes down to PKs in the World Cup.

Qwest Field was an excellent host for MLS Cup. (Getty Images)

Qwest Field was an excellent host for MLS Cup. (Getty Images)

– 46k+ saw the game last night at Qwest Field. Great venue but apparently it won’t host the big game for a few years according to the league. Apparently many clubs want to host it now and from the sound of things other cities really have their work cut out for them now after the way Seattle hosted this thing.

– The Field turf really did a number out there last night on the players. No doubt it will be a topic of conversation going into next year.

  • Nussdorfer AC

    F*cking awesome!

  • Nussdorfer AC

    F*cking awesome!