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Utahns celebrate Real Salt Lake MLS Cup victory



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SALT LAKE CITY - Real Salt Lake fans across Utah are celebrating the team's big MLS Cup win over the L.A. Galaxy Sunday.

Since RSL didn't have a great season until the end, many fans wanted to believe but weren't sure whether they should let themselves believe. Could the underdogs really take the championship?

At the Tipton household, some long-time season ticket holders started the game, eager for a goal.

"I had a dream that RSL scored in the first minute. So watch! It's gonna happen," said fan Mark St. Andre.

Sadly, it didn't. "Yeah. I'm not as smart as I thought I was," said St. Andre.

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They were so involved, they forgot the pizza. It was seriously burned by the third minute. But their spirits were up and their hopes stayed alive.

"They're just doing exactly what it takes to win a game, and they just keep winning games. It's just got to happen for one more game," said St. Andre.

Other fans kept a positive outlook about the outcome.

"I'm expecting them to win tonight. I'm very hopeful," said fan Ken Pilon.

A win would mean big things for Real Salt Lake, and its fans. "It would be huge obviously. This is the Super Bowl for us," said fan Jim Tipton.

Things were slightly less subdued at the Piper Down pub. It's an official fan hangout for Real Salt Lake.

Mike Aguilar kept the faith. "I mean come on, our boys, they play with heart, they play with passion, and that's where it counts. So I'm still saying, we're going to walk away with this game in regulation time," he said.

No one could deny the excitement in the air. "This is incredible. I mean, the odds are against us, man, and we're going to do this," said Carrich Theisen.

After two scoreless overtime periods, the teams went to a shootout and the excitement went over the top.

When Robbie Russell scored in the seventh round of penalty kicks to clinch the win, fans were ecstatic.

This is the first major championship for Utah in 40 years. Fans are already looking forward to next season.

The team is expected to arrive home Monday at 2 p.m. Fans can meet them at Terminal One at the Salt Lake International Airport near the JetBlue baggage claim.

E-mail: hollenhorst@ksl.com

John Hollenhorst

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