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MLS: Salt Lake City defeat LA Galaxy

Major League Soccer side Real Salt Lake City held their nerve to defeat Los Angeles Galaxy 5-4 on penalty kicks and capture the MLS Cup title last Sunday after a game that finished dead-locked in regulation time.

Retaining the same line-up that bested Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference Championship, Real Salt Lake came into the final game of the season looking to capture the first trophy in the club’s MLS history.

However, their title aspirations were dealt a major blow five minutes before half-time when Galaxy midfielders David Beckham and Landon Donovan exchanged passes before the latter sent a teasing cross over to the far post, where it was met smartly by Mike Magee with RSL ‘keeper Nick Rimando well beaten.

Seemingly content to sit on their 1-0 lead in the second half, the Galaxy sat deep and allowed Salt Lake plenty of possession – a tactic that clearly backfired when RSL’s Robbie Findley found the equaliser just after the hour mark. With Yura Movsisyan seeing his shot blocked in the LA penalty area, the RSL striker popped up to slam home the loose ball with his left foot to tie the scores at one a-piece.

No breakthrough for either team emerged in the remainder of regulation or extra time, so the tie went to penalty kicks where a dramatic shoot-out saw Donovan fire over the bar and Rimando make smart stops from Jovan Kirovski and Edson Buddle to hand Salt Lake the advantage. Robbie Russell then coolly converted the decisive penalty to settled matters in Seattle and hand his team the Philip F. Anschutz trophy.
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