for this game

Red Bulls hang on to clinch MLS Cup berth

Nov 16, 2008 - 7:24 AM By Matthew Piper PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Some teams have all the luck.

Dave van den Bergh scored midway through the first half and the fourth-seeded New York Red Bulls got a few fortunate bounces as they clinched their first-ever appearance in the MLS Cup with a 1-0 victory over third-seeded Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference final on Saturday.

New York will play the Columbus Crew for the championship on November 23 in Carson, California. The Crew claimed the Supporters' Shield for most points after the regular season.

Van den Bergh recorded the lone goal in the 28th minute, knocking home a rebound after John Wolyniec's low cross was denied by Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

Real Salt Lake came close to tying the game several times, but hit the post on four occasions.

The loss was difficult to swallow for an emotional RSL team that controlled possession from early in the first half and ratcheted up the pressure as the game neared its conclusion.

"It was chance after chance after chance," second-year Real Salt Lake head coach Jason Kreis said. "I drove myself to laughter on the bench. It was either that or cry."

They first encountered the woodwork on a 30-yard Javier Morales free kick in the 41st minute. The Argentine midfielder's intended pass lofted over the heads and arms of every player in box and bounced harmlessly off the right post before being cleared.

Midfielder Robbie Russell later forced a diving save off the post from goalkeeper Danny Cepero in the 56th minute, and RSL filled the next 20 minutes with a flurry of chances before its strongest of the match.

In the 81st minute, Real substitute forward Robbie Findley made a run toward the right side of goal when Cepero charged him and forced a hasty lay-off to forward Will Johnson. RSL's midseason pickup raced wildly toward the touchline and slid to make slight contact with the ball just as it reached the far post, but was unable to angle it into the net.

"They were inches away, literally, from scoring goals," Cepero said. "Some nights there are nights where it's just not going to go in for a team. Fortunately for us, it was that kind of night for Salt Lake."

Driving a stake through the heart of the 20,008 in attendance, Morales barely missed tying the match in the fourth minute of stoppage time after he volleyed his own rebound off the left post from the top of the penalty area. Moments later, the referee's whistle sounded and New York players rejoiced while RSL was left to count its chances.

"Our boys fought for 90 minutes, and when we didn't manage to stop them, the post did," New York coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "The post is part of the goal. I feel a little sympathy for Jason (Kreis) because I think they probably deserved to tie the game, but that's football."

Cepero stopped six shots for the Red Bulls, who were outshot, 24-11.

"It was just a matter of getting the dam to break," Kreis said. "It can happen that way, and it happened to us at the wrong time."

"I don't have any regrets. I don't think New York did anything to trouble us all night except on the one play they scored on."

The Red Bulls are the first No. 4 seed to reach the final game since the Los Angeles Galaxy won the Cup in 2005.

"That's part of the playoffs," Cepero said. "For a team like us that snuck in, or whatever you want to call it, it's a fresh start."








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    MLS NY RED BULLS 1
    REAL SALT LAKE 0 FINAL

    Nov 15 11:46 PM


  • WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP
    MLS NY RED BULLS 1
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  • MLS UPDATE
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    REAL SALT LAKE 0
    NY RED BULLS GOAL: Dave van den Bergh in the 28th minute

    Red Bulls 1, Real Salt Lake 0  1st - 28'Nov 15 10:06 PM