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December 8, 2013 at 12:59 AM

Sporting Kansas City wins the MLS Cup after penalty-kick shootout

Photo credit: Colin E. Braley, AP

Photo credit: Colin E. Braley, AP

It might not have been the prettiest MLS Cup final ever, thanks to the 20-degree weather at Sporting Park, but Saturday’s final between Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake won’t soon be forgotten.

The hosts, Sporting KC, prevailed in a penalty-kick shootout, one that lasted 10 rounds following a 1-1 tie, becoming the first Eastern Conference team to win since 2008.

Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio opened the scoring in the 52nd minute, set up brilliantly by a no-look pass from Kyle Beckerman. Kansas City equalized in the 76th minute through bruising defender Aurelien Collin, who some felt had deserved to be sent off, with a header off a corner kick.

Action eventually led to a shootout, where each team had a chance to claim the trophy. A champion was settled when RSL defender Lovel Palmer, an injury substitute, slammed a shot off the crossbar (the ball, mysteriously, was moving on the spot as he took the kick). Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen made two saves during the shootout, which ended 7-6 in the hosts’ favor.

Sporting KC had won the 2012 U.S. Open Cup on penalty kicks (against Sounders FC, of course). Salt Lake had won the MLS Cup in 2009 via shootout.

Here is a list of league champions, with Kansas City becoming the fifth city to have won multiple titles:

2013 — Sporting Kansas City
2012 — Los Angeles Galaxy
2011 — Los Angeles Galaxy
2010 — Colorado Rapids
2009 — Real Salt Lake
2008 — Columbus Crew
2007 — Houston Dynamo
2006 — Houston Dynamo
2005 — Los Angeles Galaxy
2004 — D.C. United
2003 — San Jose Earthquakes
2002 — Los Angeles Galaxy
2001 — San Jose Earthquakes
2000 — Kansas City Wizards
1999 — D.C. United
1998 — Chicago Fire
1997 — D.C. United
1996 — D.C. United

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