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MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER : Real Salt Lake reaches title game

November 15, 2009|Associated Press

Real Salt Lake advanced to its first MLS Cup final by beating the Chicago Fire, 5-4, on penalty kicks after 120 scoreless minutes in the Eastern Conference final Saturday night in Bridgeview, Ill.

Ned Grabavoy, a substitute in the final minute of overtime, scored the winning penalty kick in the seventh round as his shot went off the fingertips of Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch.

Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando made three saves in the shootout after stopping six shots through overtime.

Salt Lake, which joined the league in 2005, will meet the Galaxy in the MLS Cup final on Nov. 22 at Qwest Field in Seattle. The Galaxy reached the title game with a 2-0 win against Houston late Friday after Gregg Berhalter and Landon Donovan scored in overtime.

The Fire has lost three consecutive conference finals, and this game was the first to reach penalties since D.C. United defeated New England in 2004.

Salt Lake nearly scored in the final seconds of regulation but forward Robbie Findley's shot from the top of the box was cleared off the line by John Thorrington.

Fire forward Brian McBride saw his header hit the crossbar in the 27th minute, and midfielder Marco Pappa had a shot in the 67th minute saved by a diving Rimando.

It was the second time this season that Chicago lost on penalty kicks.

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