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For 120 minutes, Real Salt Lake did not threaten or even fire a shot in the direction of the Seattle Sounders network.
Justen Glad scored the winning goal in the sixth round of penalties and Real Salt Lake beat Seattle 6-5 on the tie break after a goalless game to eliminate the Sounders in the opening round of the MLS Cup playoffs on Tuesday night .
Real Salt Lake won despite not scoring a shot in regular time or overtime. It was the first time in the history of the league that a team did not register a shot in a playoff game.
“The home team has to put on a show,” said Real Salt Lake interim coach Pablo Mastroeni. “It’s up to us to find a way to win.”
Despite the lack of attack all night, RSL was perfect in the shootout – and David Ochoa saved Kelyn Rowe’s attempt in the sixth round. Glad’s winning shot was deflected by Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei, hit one post, rolled to the other and trickled over the goal line to the winning goal.
Ochoa dived left on each of Seattle’s penalty attempts until Rowe turned right and guessed correctly.
Aaron Herrera, Pablo Ruiz, Damir Kreilach, Bobby Wood and Marcelo Silva all met in the shootout for RSL. Ruiz’s first attempt was saved by Frei, but video review revealed Frei came off the goal line early and Ruiz scored on the second attempt.
Real Salt Lake will face Sporting Kansas City in the semifinals of the Western Conference on Sunday. RSL defeated Sporting Kansas City on the final day of the regular season to qualify for the playoffs.
Real Salt Lake’s only other penalty shoot-out win in the MLS playoffs came in the 2009 final, which was played in Seattle.
“Ultimately, the playoffs are a different beast,” said Mastroeni. “It wasn’t the game plan not to get good, quality scoring opportunities, but you have the regular season to learn from decisions and choices you make as a group.”
Raul Ruidiaz, Joao Paulo, Abdoulaye Cissoko , Alex Roldan and Nicolas Lodeiro scored on penalties for Seattle but the end result was the culmination of a night of frustration for the home side.
The Sounders shot RSL 21-0 over the 120 minutes but only three of their attempts were on target and Ochoa was rarely threatened. Seattle had won its last 15 playoff home games and reached the last two MLS Cup finals.
“It’s not a good memory, so we’ll keep it in here. It will heat the fire up a bit, ”said Seattle trainer Brian Schmetzer.
Real Salt Lake won despite playing without captain Albert Rusnak after testing positive for COVID-19. The team announced the positive test about 90 minutes before kick-off.
Rusnak had 11 goals and 11 assists in the regular season and was second on the team.
Determined not to be beaten defensively, Real Salt Lake stuck to their plan to never threaten Frei.
The plan worked and Seattle’s chances were limited. Seattle came closest to scoring when Ruidiaz hit the bar with a 25-yard half-volley in the 73rd minute.
“I would just say our execution in the last third just wasn’t there,” said Schmetzer. “We had a few half-chances, all set pieces.”
Jordan Morris from Seattle played 104 minutes in his first start since his major knee operation in February. Morris had only played as a reserve in the last two regular season games in Seattle.
Justen Glad scored the decisive goal in the sixth round of a penalty shoot-out and Real Salt Lake beat Seattle 6-5 in the tiebreak after a goalless game to eliminate the Sounders in the opening round of the MLS Cup playoffs on Tuesday night.
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Ahmir Langlais came off the bench to score 15 Points to lead five players in double digits, and South Carolina Upstate held South Carolina State 82-78. ab
Jordan Minor and Mykel Derring both hit career highs of 25 points and Merrimack scored a 75-60 win over Hartford
CJ McCollum scored 32 points and the Portland Trail Blazers gave the exhausted Denver Nuggets their fifth loss in a row with a 119-100 victory
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