A sold-out crowd of 21,650 enthusiastic fans turned out in frigid temperatures to watch the much-heralded championship match between the two best MLS teams at Sporting Park.
"I’ve been reading a few billboards that Kansas City is the soccer capital of America," said Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. "You know what, no matter where you go, no matter where you’re driving, you see people with Sporting KC markers and jerseys and it’s those people that deserve this trophy today."
Aurelien Collin scored his third goal of this postseason in the 76th minute and also scored the winning goal in the penalty shootout to secure the second league title (2000) in Sporting KC's 18-year history. Collin was named the Volkswagen MLS Cup 2013 MVP.
"For the first time in my life, I had the best facilities, the best environment, the best infrastructure [at Sporting KC]," said Collin. "I know I am a better player now than I was three years ago. I know that if I stay here, I will be a better player in three years than I am now. I wasn’t expecting all of this but I feel very blessed and happy to be a part of it.”
With the win, Sporting KC also secured a berth in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League for the second consecutive year.
"If you look at the past year, we’ve hosted the U.S. Open Cup, we have brought countless teams here to play exhibition games, we won the Eastern Conference championship here, and now MLS Cup," said Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes. "It’s incredible when you have owners that have such a connection to your team. It’s not just money—they’re involved in the community and all of these things."
Sporting KC suffered an early setback when Spanish midfielder Oriol Rosell went down with a sprained left ankle after he was stepped on by Robbie Findley. Rosell was replaced by Lawrence Olum in the eighth minute, the earliest sub in MLS Cup history.
After a physical but evenly matched first half, Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio scored his fourth career playoff goal in the 52nd minute after connecting with the assist from Kyle Beckerman for a 1-0 lead.
Sporting Kansas City equalized with in the 76th minute, when Collin headed in his fourth goal in 10 career playoff games off a Graham Zusi corner kick.
Sporting KC outscored RSL 7-6 in the longest shootout in MLS playoff history and the third third time the MLS Cup was decided in penalty kicks. Claudio Bieler, Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber, Seth Sinovic, C.J. Sapong and Chance Myers all scored in the shootout for SKC, while Kyle Beckerman, Joao Plata, Javier Morales, Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran and Nat Borchers converted for Real Salt Lake.
"I don’t think RSL played their best game," said Sporting KC defender Sinovic. "I think they’re an incredible team, they’re a very possession dominant team, but I think the elements and our pressure hindered that a little bit, but that’s a testament to the work that we put in defensively.”
RSL -- Alvaro Saborio 1 (Kyle Beckerman 1) 52
SKC -- Aurelien Collin 3 (Graham Zusi 2) 76
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen (c); Chance Myers, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Oriol Rosell (Lawrence Olum 8), Paulo Nagamura, Benny Feilhaber; Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer (Claudio Bieler 72), C.J. Sapong
Subs not used: Teal Bunbury, Ike Opara, Eric Kronberg, Jacob Peterson, Federico Bessone
Real Salt Lake: Nick Rimando; Chris Schuler, Tony Beltran, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert (Lovel Palmer 72); Ned Grabavoy, Luis Gil (Sebastian Velasquez 87), Kyle Beckerman (c), Javier Morales; Alvaro Saborio, Robbie Findley (Joao Plata 112)
Subs not used: Cole Grossman, Jeff Attinella, Olmes Garcia, Brandon McDonald
RSL -- Chris Wingert (caution; reckless foul) 24
KC -- Aurelien Collin (caution; reckless tackle) 35
RSL -- Alvaro Saborio (caution; reckless foul) 44
RSL -- Kyle Beckerman (caution; reckless tackle) 100
KC -- Benny Feilhaber (caution; reckless tackle) 103