Real Salt Lake qualifies for playoffs with win over Rapids

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Press releaseSANDY (Saturday, October 24, 2009) -- While its playoff odds were long to start the day, Real Salt Lake took care of the business at hand by dominating the Colorado Rapids 3-0 tonight in front of 18,675 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium, then saw results in three other MLS matches shake out its way, giving the Utah side its second consecutive berth into the MLS Cup Playoffs.

With the huge win over its archrival this evening, Real Salt Lake (11-12-7, 40 pts.) is now poised to enter the Eastern Conference playoffs and will earn the #3 seed with a New England Revolution loss or tie tomorrow at the Columbus Crew or the #4 seed should the Revs pull out the win at Crew Stadium.

Real Salt Lake flexed its muscles early and often, and it was FW Robbie Findley doing the damage by scoring twice in the first half. Both plays were spurred on by assists from MF Andy Williams, the first coming with his pass into the area that was headed across the six-yard box by FW Fabian Espíndola before being headed home by Findley at the right post in the 15th minute. Then in the 33rd minute it was a superb 50-yard pass by Williams behind the Rapids backline that Findley flicked over Rapids GK Preston Burpo before depositing into the net to give RSL a crucial insurance tally. The Utahns would seal the deal five minutes from time, when substitute FW Yura Movsisyan took an outlet pass from MF Javier Morales at the midfield stripe before ending his 50-yard run with a right-footed finish.

For a complete recap of tonight's contest at Rio Tinto Stadium, click here.

RSL Match Notes

Should New England win tomorrow, Real Salt Lake would earn the League's fourth Wild Card spot and, subsequently, the #4 seed in the East, giving the Utah side the chance to dethrone the defending MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew in an Eastern Conference Semifinal Series. Meanwhile, a Revolution loss or tie would result in RSL claiming the #3 East/Wild Card slot and a match-up with the Chicago Fire. Either way, Real Salt Lake will open its Eastern Conference Semifinal Series with a home match at Rio Tinto Stadium, with details to be announced once the 2009 MLS Cup Playoff schedule is finalized on Sunday.

Tonight's victory not only pushed RSL into the postseason once again, but the multi-goal triumph helped the Utah side retain the Rocky Mountain Cup rivalry trophy over the Rapids for a third straight season. This could also mark the third consecutive year that an RSL result over Colorado in the regular season finale between the two rivals could keep the Rapids out of the postseason, as a New England win or tie tomorrow would bounce the Rapids from its tenuous hold on the fourth and final wild card berth.

Tonight's victory was Real Salt Lake's 11th on the season, surpassing last year's franchise-record of 10, while its 40 points on the regular season equaled the single-season best that was also set last year.

RSL's 9-1-5 record at home this season - currently the second-best in MLS - was punctuated by a +23 goal differential (34 GF/11GA), tying the League record set by the 1998 Chicago Fire.

Colorado Rapids (10-10-10) vs. Real Salt Lake (11-12-7) October 24, 2009 -- Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary: RSL -- Robbie Findley 11 (Fabian Espíndola 3, Andy Williams 5) 15
RSL -- Robbie Findley 12 (Andy Williams 6) 33
RSL -- Yura Movsisyan 8 (Javier Morales 5) 85

Colorado Rapids -- Preston Burpo, Drew Moor, Julien Baudet, Cory Gibbs (Pat Noonan 69), Jordan Harvey (Facundo Diz 87), Kosuke Kimura, Mehdi Ballouchy, Pablo Mastroeni, Nick LaBrocca, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings.

Substitutes Not Used: Greg Dalby, Michael Holody, Scott Palguta, Matt Pickens, Ross Schunk

Real Salt Lake -- Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Tony Beltran, Andy Williams (Ned Grabavoy 62), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Will Johnson, Robbie Findley (Yura Movsisyan 62), Fabian Espíndola (Clint Mathis 72).

(Courtesy of Real Salt Lake)

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