for this game

Real Salt Lake draw with Rapids, clinch playoff berth

Oct 26, 2008 - 4:50 AM By Brady Delander PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

COMMERCE CITY, Colorado (Ticker) -- Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis admitted for the first time that he did not expect his team to reach the playoffs this season.

Yura Movsisyan delivered an unassisted goal just before injury time began to tie the game and clinch a postseason berth for Real Salt Lake, which salvaged a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Saturday night.

Following 89 minutes of lackluster play, it appeared that would be the case as the Rapids took an early lead and controlled the action until the final minute.

The Rapids needed a win in this final match of the regular season to advance to the playoffs, while Real Salt Lake needed only a tie. In the 90th minute, that tying goal came.

"It only happens once or twice in your life, and I'm happy that it happened today," Movsisyan said of his goal.

Kreis was stunned that his squad rallied for the draw after nearly an entire game's worth of sub-par play.

"I couldn't believe it," Kreis said. "I thought we played poorly. To be completely honest , I thought it was one of our worst games all season. I kept telling myself on the bench that (a goal) was going to come, it was going to come, but I don't know if all of me believed that."

The Rapids controlled the action in the first half and took an early lead off the foot of Conor Casey.

Jordan Harvey delivered a perfect pass to Casey, who found himself ahead of two defenders with Real Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando charging the ball. But Casey was able to control and lift the ball over Rimando's head for a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute.

Real Salt Lake could not muster any offense, and it struggled to find a solution to Colorado's heavy defensive set in the second half.

But it turned out that the Rapids were looking for that one opportunity, which finally came in the 90th minute, with Andy Williams setting up the action.

"I was thinking if Yura was coming on I had no clue where he was. I just turned around and moved the ball forward," Williams said.

After touching Colorado's defender, Movsisyan squared up to the left of the goal and unleashed a hard roller in front of the feet of Rapids keeper Bouna Coundoul for the tying goal.

"The guys reacted with a lot of urgency. I think that's the first goal we've scored late all year," Kreis said. "I haven't said this publicly, but before the season I don't think there was anybody, even on our own staff, that would have said that we were going to make the playoffs."

Colorado coach Gary Smith left a subdued locker room, but he was able to find a silver lining.

"We were dead and buried on August 9, and everybody jumped in and did a heck of a job to get us here," Smith said. "For 88 minutes tonight, we were in the playoffs. So, it's a very tough pill to swallow."