So at the start of the season not many folks would have picked RSL to make it to MLS Cup, by the middle of the season it looked as if RSL was on track to sweep the trophies available to them this year, and heading into the final weeks of the season it looked as if RSL was in real trouble with a 2-2-2 record in their final six regular season matches. Yet as has been seen almost every season in MLS history, it is about getting hot at the right time. RSL was able to hold the LA Galaxy to a 1-0 win in the first leg of their playoff series and then able to dominate them in the second leg and secure a 2-0 win in extra time to advance to the Western Conference finals.
It would be more matches against the Portland Timbers that would decide who would advance to MLS Cup, it would be the 5th and 6th matches between the two teams this season (including US Open Cup action). The first leg saw one of the more intense matches of the MLS season as both sides were swinging for the fences early and often, and despite giving up the first goal of the match RSL battled back and secured a 4-2 win at Rio Tinto. The second leg was again a match played at a frantic pace, but with RSL withstanding every offensive attack the Timbers could manage and with Robbie Findley cleaning up a loose ball in the area and putting it past Ricketts giving RSL the 1-0 lead that would be the final score as the Claret and Cobalt advanced with a 5-2 aggregate total.
Now RSL will journey to Kansas City to face hosts Sporting KC in the 2013 edition of the MLS Cup, a match between two of the smaller markets that play some of the more exciting styles of soccer in the league. It should be a great tactical matchup between the possession based attack of RSL and the SKC brand of reckless abandon attacks.
These two teams don’t care much for each other as emotions have been high for the last couple of seasons after some preseason antics from Sporting that RSL players and staff didn’t appreciated, resulting in a match being abandoned. Earlier this year the two sides battled (7 yellow cards – 2 resulting in a 66th minute red card to Chris Wingert), and a strange 7th minute stoppage time goal (only 5 minutes were noted by the 4th) gave SKC the 2-1 win in one of the worst officiated matches of the season. What kind of match will we get on December, 7th? We will have to wait to find out but with RSL firing on all cylinders and showing they can going into hostile environments like Jeld-Wen Field and get wins, I expect a match that will be non-stop action from the first to the last whistle.
I will be heading to Kansas City to be able to provide those of you who can’t make it with as much coverage as I can, hopefully MLS will be kind and grant me a press pass so I can bring you as much info as possible. I hope I see you as many of you there as can make it, I can tell you from having been to MLS Cup 09 that it really is an amazing time.
That’s How I See It