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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City battled it out on the pitch for a 90-minute regulation, 30-minute extra time and two rounds of five penalty kicks for each side in which the East victors, Sporting Kansas City, grabbed the MLS Cup trophy.
With neither side breaking past the 1-1 score line that came in the 90-minute regulation and then again in the 30-minute extra time, the match moved to penalty kicks, just like it did in 2009 for the Salt Lake side. That match was also the last MLS Cup that was decided by penalty kicks.
Both sides stood arm-in-arm as they watched and waited through the penalty kick shootout. One player from each side approached the spot one at a time through 10 sets of penalty kicks.
After the first round of five sets of penalty kicks for each side, the score line stood tied 3-3 on penalties, putting the match into a sudden death round of penalties.
It was the sudden death penalty shootout in which Sporting Kansas City put its 10th penalty kick in off defender Aurelien Collin, and RSL defender Lovel Palmer hit the crossbar and the ball bounced down and away from the goal, giving the MLS Cup to Sporting Kansas, 7-6 in penalties.
RSL was the first to hit the back of the net in the 90-minute regulation off a goal by forward Alvaro Saborio in the 52nd minute. Sporting Kansas answered back in the 76th minute off a header from Collin, equalizing the match.
Frigid 20-degree temperatures almost immediately took a toll on the match as both sides took the pitch and kicked off. The pitch was cold, the ball was cold and the players were cold. Players from both sides were falling to the ground left and right and were slower than normal to get up due to the temperatures.
The Salt Lake side wasn’t without representation inside Sporting Kansas Park as an estimated 1,500 RSL fans, of the 21,650 in attendance, made the trip to see their club battle inside Sporting Kansas Park.
RSL finished its 2013 season as the MLS Western Conference champion, adding a piece of hardware to its trophy case, and it did it in the midst of what was called a rebuilding year and a roster mixed with veterans, RSL newcomers and rookies.
Contributing: Rod Zundel
Kira Terry is a sports writer covering Real Salt Lake for KSL.com. Follow her on Twitter, @kiraterry.