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Salt Lake clinches playoff berth with 3-0 win over Rapids

Oct 25, 2009 - 5:55 AM Sandy, Utah (STATS) - For the second straight season, Real Salt Lake used a win over the Colorado Rapids in its regular season finale to secure a playoff berth. The Rocky Mountain Cup rival Rapids now must wait until Sunday evening to learn their fate.

Buoyed by a pair of second-half goals from forward Robbie Findley, RSL clinched a playoff spot with a 3-0 victory over the Rapids on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.

The victory assured Salt Lake (11-12-7) a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs. Now, both RSL and the Rapids (10-10-10) must wait and watch New England's match at Columbus on Sunday. If the Revolution upset the top-seeded Crew or tie, they would leapfrog Colorado for a playoff spot and Salt Lake would open the postseason against Columbus. Should New England lose, the Rapids would earn a playoff spot and face the Crew, while RSL would open against Chicago.

Findley's effort proved his worth all over again after spending the previous two matches on the bench. RSL coach Jason Kreis decided to go with Findley in the first eleven on Saturday and was pleased with how he rose to the occasion.

"For him to come in this weekend and handle things the way he did speaks volumes to the development of Robbie Findley," Kreis said.

Findley converted a header in the 15th minute to give RSL a 1-0 lead. Andy Williams set the play in motion by lobbing a cross to Fabian Espindola on the left side. Espindola then looped the ball up to the right post and Findley, who threaded it perfectly between Colorado goalkeeper Nelson Burpo and the post.

His second goal came in the 33rd minute, when he brought down a long pass from Williams, popped it up and over the head of an onrushing Burpo, and slid the ball home for an uncontested score.

"When I turned around I saw him coming out, so I figured I'd hit it over his head and then get on the end of it," Findley said. "It worked out."

While Findley was scoring with ease, the Rapids could do little against an RSL defense that notched its 11th shutout of the season.

Salt Lake blanketed Colorado forwards Omar Cummings and Conor Casey throughout the match to limit their touches and opportunities to create havoc on the offensive side.

The strategy worked well. Although the Rapids outshot RSL 13-12, they managed just one shot on goal after halftime. Cummings and Casey combined to put just three balls on frame through 90 minutes.

Colorado coach Gary Smith felt like his players did not capitalize on chances they had to cut into the lead - especially in the first half.

"The scoreline I don't think in any way, shape or form flattered Salt Lake," Smith said. "It was an extremely difficult night for our players in terms of winning and losing battles around the field. Salt Lake won more. More of their players were better than more of ours and it was very evident from start to finish."

RSL added a third goal in the 85th minute, when Yura Movsisyan took a pass from Javier Morales and dribbled down into the post. After cutting around Drew Moor, Movsisyan blasted a low shot toward the opposite post and buried it in the corner of the net.

"2-0 is always the most dangerous lead in soccer," Salt Lake midfielder Will Johnson said. "We knew that we needed one more and we'd kill them off and Yura did that for us."

With its latest shutout, Salt Lake set a franchise record for fewest goals allowed in a season - 35.






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    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

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