Real Salt Lake – Western Conference Champions

Javier Morales scans the pitch prior to a corner kick.

Javier Morales

PORTLAND, Oregon — Robbie Findley netted the only goal of the night in the 29′ and Real Salt Lake beat the Portland Timbers 1-0 (5-2 on aggregate) Sunday night to advance to the MLS Cup Final.

The first scoring chance of the game came off an RSL set piece in the fifth minute.

Javier Morales sent in a ball from 20 yards out, but Devon Sandoval couldn’t quite finish it with a header.

In the fifteenth minute, Portland appeared to take the 1-0 lead. But a foul on Mamadou Danso for a shove in the box negated the goal.

Real Salt Lake starting eleven

In the twenty-ninth minute, Findley was able to find the back of the net to give the Claret and Cobalt a 1-0 lead.

RSL midfielder Luis Gil took a shot from about 25 yards out, and PDX goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was there to make the save, but the ball deflected off his arms, and Findley put it back for the goal.


Plata defended by Sporting KC Keeper earlier this year at Rio Tinto Stadium (Photo: Rob Gray)

A few minutes later, Danso scored another goal for Portland that would’ve tied the game at one apiece, but he was called for offsides, and the goal didn’t count.

Two first half injuries forced the Timbers to use two subs in the first half, and they appeared to be rattled by the defensive pressure that RSL had all night long.


Ned Grabavoy against Sporting KC earlier this year at Rio Tinto Stadium. (Photo: Rob Gray)

The midfield for Real looked as good as it has all season Sunday night. The combination of Javier Morales, Ned Grabavoy, and the young Luis Gil controlled the pace of the game, and executed passes with absolute precision.

Frustration started to set in during the second half when Portland lost their heads in pretty normal situations.

Real Salt Lake and the Portland Timbers Western Conference Final

Robby Findley, Nat Borchers, and Nick Rimando enjoy a lighter moment prior to the first leg game against Portland at Rio Tinto Stadium

A ball was sent into the box early in the second half, and RSL defender Chris Schuler made contact with Ricketts trying to get to the ball.

Ricketts responded by shoving Schuler, and a scuffle ensued.

Several more little scuffles occurred, but RSL continued to dominate the game, and held on for the 1-0 victory.

Jason Kreis’ side will head to Kansas City, Missouri to face Sporting KC for the MLS Cup Final on December 7 at 2pm, hoping to bring back a championship to Salt Lake City.

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