MLS Cup final matchup set: Sporting KC to host Real Salt Lake at Sporting Park on Dec. 7
And then there were two.
After four weeks of MLS Cup Playoff action, we now know the two clubs that will contend for the MLS title on December 7: Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake.
The 18th edition of the MLS Cup will hosted by Sporting KC at Sporting Park, in Kansas City, Kan. SKC host due to their superior regular-season record .
Sporting KC earned their berth in the final after coming back to beat the Houston Dynamo, 2-1, on Saturday night in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship. The two sides played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg.
RSL booked their place by beating the Portland Timbers, 1-0, on Sunday in the second leg of the Western Conference Championship to win the series 5-2 on aggregate.
Sporting KC and RSL each has one MLS Cup title in its trophy case.
SKC, then known as the Kansas City Wizards, beat the Chicago Fire, 1-0, in the 2000 MLS Cup at RFK Stadium. The goal came from Miklos Molnar, but the win was largely thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Tony Meola. Current Sporting coach Peter Vermes went 90 minutes on that day in October.
RSL came out on top in the 2009 MLS Cup, after surviving a penalty-kick shootout against David Beckham and the LA Galaxy at Qwest Field (now CenturyLink Field) in Seattle. Robbie Russell scored the winning penalty -- on the sixth kick of the shootout -- while goalkeeper Nick Rimando came up with two saves. Nine players from the matchday roster at the 2009 MLS Cup remain with RSL today.
December 7 will mark the first time the two sides have ever met in the postseason. It will be their second meeting this year. On July 20 at Rio Tinto Stadium, Sporting KC defeated RSL, 2-1, thanks to a 97th-minute goal from Ike Opara in what was one of the most contentious matches of the year. The match saw six yellow cards and one ejection, and plenty of postgame talking points.