Sporting KC won their first MLS title since 2000 by outlasting Real Salt Lake last night in a match decided on penalty kicks, a usually-anticlimactic outcome that in this instance turned out to be thrilling.
Real Salt Lake actually held the lead in regulation after a brilliant pass from dreadlocked captain Kyle Beckerman found Alvaro Saborio to open the scoring in the 52nd minute:
But Sporting KC equalized 20 minutes later when Aurelien Collin found the goal on a day when scoring opportunities in poor weather conditions were scarce. Saborio's 105th-minute header was called back for being offside, and teams headed to the dreaded shootout.
Somehow, through both luck and a bit of choking, the PKs ended up being exciting. Sporting KC appeared ready to walk through to the title when they took a 2-0 lead to start the shootout, but Graham Zusi was off-target on his clinching attempt in the fifth round. Real Salt Lake later had its own chance to clinch in the eighth round, but Sporting KC keeper Jimmy Nielsen guessed right and stopped Sebastian Velasquez's shot for the win.
It wasn't until the tenth round that a result would be decided, when RSL's Lovel Palmer cranked a shot into the crossbar that looked for a moment, like it might have gone in then bounced back out. It didn't, and Sporting KC launched into the celebration.
Real Salt Lake, meanwhile, watched another team celebrate winning a cup for the second time this season. They played runners-up earlier in 2013 to D.C. United in the U.S. Open Cup. [UniMás]