Real Salt Lake (4-1-2-1-2): Nick Rimando; Lovel Palmer (Abdoulie Mansally, 59’), Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Tony Beltran; Kyle Beckerman (C), Luis Gil, Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy (Sebastian Velasquez, 90’), Robbie Findley, Devon Sandoval (Olmes Garcia, 85’)
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Brandon McDonalad, Cole Grossman, Joao Plata
Portland Timbers (4-3-3): Donovan Ricketts; Jack Jewsbury (Ryan Johnson, 71’), Mamadou Danso, Pa Madou Kah, Michael Harrington; Diego Chara, Will Johnson, Diego Valeri; Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace (Kalif Alhassan, 45 + 1’), Frederic Piquionne (Maximiliano Urruti, 27’)
Substitutes not used: Milos Kocic, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Ben Zemanski, Sal Zizzo
PORTLAND – Real Salt Lake (West #2) advanced to MLS Cup 2013 on Sunday night, beating the Portland Timbers (West #1) 1-0 (5-2) in the Western Conference Championship series second leg to move to the Dec. 7 final at Eastern Conference champions Sporting Kansas City.
RSL entered Sunday’s decisive second leg with a two-goal lead following the side’s 4-2 first leg win over Portland at Rio Tinto Stadium on Nov. 10. That advantage was never in much danger on Sunday night, with RSL FW Robbie Findley scoring his sixth career MLS Cup Playoff goal in the 29th minute to give the Claret-and-Cobalt a three-goal aggregate cushion. The RSL defense did the rest of the work, holding the Timbers to a mere two shots on goal to preserve the shutout and take the Utah side to its second-ever MLS Cup.
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis
On handling the early pressure at the beginning of the game:
“Yeah, our objective was to try to reverse things a little bit. Put them under some pressure, but it’s hard to when they were throwing both their outside backs forward and playing us direct as they were. I thought that they did a really good job of gaining the momentum early in the match. I thought they did a really good job of creating some chances, they were dangerous on dead balls, and put us under. So certainly had me nervous for long stretches of that first half. But the goal that we scored was so critical.”
On how poised the team played:
“Yeah, I think it was pretty poised. I think when you have guys like [Nick] Rimando, [Nat] Borchers, [Kyle] Beckerman, [Javier] Morales, [Ned] Grabavoy, there’s enough experience out there that have been through so many critical matches in really difficult places, that I think they’ve been through every scenario possible, and they handled it well.”