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Real Salt Lake gets jump on Columbus

A 1-0 victory over the defending champions puts the pressure on the Crew in the return leg next weekend.

November 01, 2009|Staff and Wire Reports

SANDY, UTAH — Robbie Findley scored in the 88th minute to give Real Salt Lake a 1-0 win over the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew on Saturday in the first leg of the two-game playoff series.

Yura Movsisyan, a former standout at Pasadena City College, corralled the ball following a throw-in and sent a cross toward the right post. Findley rushed to the ball, slid and threaded it perfectly between Columbus goalkeeper William Hesmer and the post.

"It was a good near-post ball by Yura, and I was able to get on the end of it," said Findley, a former Galaxy player. "It felt good if anybody would have scored it but that was the plan, to get out of here 1-0 or 2-0, and we were able to do that."

Real Salt Lake Coach Jason Kries was impressed.

"He's the man of the hour for us," Kries said of Findley. "He was there to finish off what I thought was an unbelievable play by Yura Movsisyan to get that ball turned, and then served in a fantastic cross for Robbie, so hats off to both of those guys."

The Crew, a two-time Supporters' Shield winner as the MLS team with the most points in the regular season, is the third straight opponent Salt Lake has held scoreless at Rio Tinto Stadium.

"I think we executed our game plan . . . but we fell asleep for 10 seconds and that was the game," Crew defender Frankie Hedjuk said.

Real Salt Lake, which went 9-1-5 at home this season, shut out New York and Colorado to clinch a playoff spot for the second consecutive season.

The second leg will be in Columbus on Thursday.

"We're going to have to go there and get a result anyway," Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman said, "but now all we need is a tie."

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