Kansas City, Kan. • Real Salt Lake defender Lovel Palmer's shot hit the crossbar and bounced away, giving Sporting Kansas City a victory in the MLS Cup final Saturday night at Sporting Park.
Following a 1-1 tie, the title was decided by a shootout that lasted 10 rounds (five is standard), with SKC finally winning 7-6.
Sebastian Velasquez could have given RSL the win in the eighth round, but SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made a save.
At various points, conversions by RSL's Joao Plata, Javier Morales, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran and Nat Borchers were necessary to extend the shootout. But in the end, RSL could not complete its bid for a second Major League Soccer championship in five seasons.
RSL beat Los Angeles 5-4 in penalty kicks following a 1-1 tie in the 2009 MLS Cup final.
Citing the nature of penalty kicks as "like flipping a coin," RSL coach Jason Kreis praised his team's performance. RSL's surprising success in reaching this stage was such that, "For me, there was no way for this team to lose," Kreis said.
The game was tied after 90 minutes of regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods.
RSL's Alvaro Saborio scored in the 52nd minute with an assist from Kyle Beckerman. Real then had two great chances to take a commanding lead, but shots from Beckerman and Morales each hit the goalpost. Sporting KC tied the game in the 78th minute with Aurelien Collin's header of a corner kick.
Kreis now faces a decision about his future, with a job offer from the MLS expansion team in New York.
"What happens over the next couple of days is real hard," he said.