The great thing for Real Salt Lake fans who look back on the 2009 MLS Cup win is that the core of that team will line up Saturday at Sporting Park – the bulk of it, anyway.
It was Nick Rimando in goal; Nat Borchers on patrol in the back; Kyle Beckerman at the bottom of RSL’s midfield diamond, and; Javier Morales making the plays and controlling possession from the top of the diamond.
Plus, Ned Grabavoy played a big role in the 2009 triumph, something a few folks may forget. What else happened that cold day in Seattle? Let’s take a look back at a few of the key happenings that day:
- Real Salt Lake claimed the day in a penalty kick shootout over the starry LA Galaxy. What I wrote that day for ESPN.com: “The overachievers from one of the league’s smallest markets overcame ample hardship thanks to superior fitness and, even more, to a goalkeeper [Nick Rimando] who specializes in turning away spot shots. The Utah side also had just enough shooters able to remain calm under pressure, as a blue-collar club with no real front-line international stars claimed a 5-4 edge in a tiebreaker that went seven shooters deep.”
- The game was deadlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, and after extra time as well. Mike Magee had scored in the 41st minutes for the Galaxy; Robbie Findley supplied RSL’s 64th-minute equalizer. (Hmmm … Magee and Findley scoring in the post-season? Sound familiar?)
- A lot of people forget that Javier Morales left the game early (22nd minute) injured. What a blow. His replacement: Clint Mathis! Honestly, I had forgotten about Mathis’ role in this one. Plus, Will Johnson was limited by a bout with food poisoning. Ned Grabavoy replaced him, and quite effectively so.
- Landon Donovan was the Galaxy’s fourth tiebreaker shooter. Historically, the guy has proven as sure a PK taker as you’ll ever see … but not on this night. His shot flew well high, yet another failure in a bit of a burgeoning litany of them against Rimando.
- The Jason Kreis story was just beginning. He was already the youngest MLS coach to date when he first took to the suit and the sidelines in 2007. Two years later, on that chilly, wet Seattle night, Kreis became the youngest manager to win MLS Cup, still a month from his 37th birthday.
- A big narrative that developed out of MLS Cup 2009 was this idea that Designated Players may gin up an MLS club’s exposure, but the DP dandies do not necessarily win titles. This was the third championship decided after MLS instituted its innovative DP rules. And for the third year, a team without one of these recognized stars claimed the title. This was the best example yet, Real Salt Lake (small of market, balanced of salary) vs. the DP-loving Galaxy, with Landon Donovan and David Beckham on the roster.
- Finally, Seattle as MLS Cup hosts? Two words: Awe. Some.
ProSoccerTalk’s MLS CUP COVERAGE
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What we learned as SKC dispatched Houston in the Eastern finals
MLS Cup will close banner 2013 season for Sporting Park
MLS Cup first: manager who are both former players in the league
Debunking the myth of Sporting KC, Real Salt Lake as bitter rivals
MLS Cup history: the three best finals yet
Looking at how the playoff format worked in 2013
MILAN (AP) Sassuolo’s victory over Pescara has been reversed to a 3-0 loss.
Sassuolo won Sunday’s Serie A match 2-1 but the league now says it fielded an ineligible player.
The league says the paperwork for the signing of Antonino Ragusa, who played the final 25 minutes, had not been filed by noon the day before the match – as its rules demand.
Sassuolo says it followed the rules and will appeal.
The club was one of four teams to win both its opening matches, along with Genoa, Juventus and Sampdoria.
Jack Wilshere won’t be with Arsenal following Wednesday’s transfer deadline, however, where the Gunners midfielder lands is yet to be seen.
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According to Daily Mail, as many as 22 clubs are in the mix to acquire Wilshere on loan, including various Premier League sides.
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While Daily Mail suggests that Crystal Palace is among the leaders to bring in the 24-year-old center midfielder this season, Bournemouth and Watford are also said to be in the mix to sign the playmaker.
Manager Arsene Wenger reportedly won’t allow the Englishman to go to any of the top four sides in England and also hopes that Wilshere lands outside of the UK .
Wilshere is also being chased by foreign clubs including Serie A sides Juventus and Roma.
The Gunners have been active as the deadline heads down its final hours, with Lucas Perez of Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi both joining the club on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, young defender Calum Chambers has joined Middlesbrough on loan and Serge Gnarby is reportedly close to joining Werder Bremen after drawing significant interest from Bundesliga sides.
CHICAGO (AP) The U.S. women’s national team will host Switzerland for two matches this October in Minneapolis and Utah.
The matches for the defending World Cup champions are set for Oct. 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Oct. 23.
The U.S. team has played Switzerland just twice before, with the Americans winning both matches.
The United States is also facing Thailand on Sept. 15 in Columbus, Ohio, before playing the Netherlands in Atlanta on Sept. 18.
The team will be without goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was suspended from the team for six months following comments she made at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The United States was ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals for the team’s earliest-ever exit at the Olympics.
Just incase you were unaware, there’s another Pogba. And he too could be playing in the Premier League very soon.
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While it was Paul Pogba that stole the spotlight when he returned to Manchester United for a world-record transfer fee, Florentin — his 26-year-old brother — is drawing interest from England’s top flight.
According to the Sun, David Moyes and Sunderland are launching an $8.5 million bid for the St Etienne defender as a potential replacement for Lamine Kone. The Black Cats still anticipate that Kone will exit the Stadium of Light this season after handing in a transfer request earlier this month.
Pogba has played with the Ligue 1 club since 2012 after joining from lower-division club Sedan. Additionally, the centerback has made 13 appearances for Guinea at the international level.