What a heartbreaker last night in Kansas City. Up until the very last PK it felt like we really had a chance to finish on top.
The conditions on the pitch definitely had an impact on the quality of play. Jason Kreis said that “it was frozen not the opposite side of the field from our bench and the goalkeeper’s area to the right of our bench”. You could tell that the players were all feeling the affects as well, however except for the luck of the draw in getting the frozen goalkeepers area for the second half of the match, both clubs were exposed to these conditions. It probably should not have been as big a factor given that these two clubs are familiar with these types of conditions, well maybe not this bad since according to NBC Sports we set a record for the coldest MLS Cup in history.
The biggest factor late in the match for RSL came in the 87″ when Sebastian Velasquez was substituted for Luis Gil. Velasquez who had been amazing in his appearances in the playoffs so far was not able to really get into the groove of the match, it just looked like he had a rough time getting used to the actual conditions on the pitch as he struggled through the remainder of regulation, through the overtime and then brought to a unfortunate result as he missed RSLs only real chance at a win during the PKs. It would appear that Jason Kreis was substituting for the win in regulation or overtime, not for PKs, otherwise he would have made very different choices for the subs in the 87″ of Gil for Velasquez and in the 112″ of Plata for Findley.
At the end of it all, it was an amazing ride. What a club, what a coach, and what a year. Who would have thought back in March that we would be playing the MLS Cup after winning the Western Conference. I would be remiss if I didn’t make at least some mention of the terrible call that allowed Collin to stay in the match after a blatant foul on Robbie Findley that would have resulted in his second yellow. Any argument that the official didn’t want to affect the outcome of the game are crazy, by not following the rule he did just that.