After going up on a Dave van den Bergh goal in the 28th minute, the Red Bulls were on the defensive for much of the second half. Danny Cepero made seven saves on the night, but the woodwork made a few extra to catapult New York into its first-ever MLS Cup.
Will Johnson hit the post for Real Salt Lake in the 81st minute after stretching for a ball rolling across an empty net, all be it at a tough angle. Javier Morales than summed up the drama – and for Real Salt Lake, frustration – on the night when he hit the post in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
It just was not the night for Real Salt Lake, who was also appearing in its first conference final. The Red Bulls – the team with the worst record entering the playoffs – now travel to The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. to take on the Columbus Crew in the final. Neither team has ever won a title.
Jeff Kassouf is a staff writer for The New Paltz Times and a freelance writer who covers soccer, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org