MLS Cup 2013

Huh. Looks cold. Gonna do this oldish school.  I write as it happens, don't go back to change the embarrassing stuff, then post it unvarnished.

Three forwards for the City that Sleeps.  And, three midfielders, including the underrated Nagamura and the irritating Feilhaber.  This is why I think Salt Lake wins this, in a rather dull 2-0 affair.  Dull unless you like Salt Lake executing a well-charted game plan, that is, which as soccer purists we all do.

Hm, Max Bretos already knows who the World Cup rosters will be.  That's a tad presumptuous.

See?  4-4-2, with Beckerman running the festivities and a DAMN fine supporting cast.  City matches up just fine everywhere else, but not in the middle.

Now, I don't go back and edit this out if KC wins 18-1 and Kyle shaves his head out of shame.  That's part of the joy of this format.

It's also a good test of my typing speed and accuracy.  So far so goof.

The really impressive thing about Salt Lake?  Not just shutting down Portland, but even getting there without dying of dysentery.

"Oregon Trail" reference.  Yup.  Still got it.

I SHOULD go back and find the guy who pointed out the regular season game in Salt Lake, which Kansas City won, put this game in Kansas and not Utah.  I don't remember anyone at the time saying "This will have big implications!," but it did.  The regular season matters.  Had Kansas City not won that game, RSL would be a prohibitive favorite.  At least to me.

Nearly called RSL the Royals, as is my habit.  Can't do that today.  Because I don't want to confuse you any more than necessary.

Because this is a confusing format.  It's all coming back to me.  And I type a lot of stuff that, out of context, doesn't make much sensei.

Continental Tire - still an MLS sponsor.

Say, the World Cup draw sure sucked a lot of oxygen out of the soccer coverage room, didn't it?  Unless this game features some legendary work, it's going to be massively upstaged.  Might as well have played on Thanksgiving.

Does look like that playing this late finally caught up with the league.  They got away with Toronto and Seattle - deliberately! - but the odds of us seeing a truly great game among the shivers is pretty remote.

Oh, who mentioned Schuler earlier?  Yeah, he's the guy who put Salt Lake here, or at least the difference.  He's the other reason I think RSL is going to do just fine this afternoon.

They're coming out in short sleeves?!  Oh, clips from the earlier game.

How many of those Alejandro Moreno MLS Cups did I see him win?  I think all of them.

Oh, that said - despite the weather, I'm glad Kansas City gets to host.  I'd love to be there, but I would have taken a ticket away from a deserving fan.  I apologize to Wizards fans who I have discounted, because there's a school of thought that says the fans can lead a team to victory.  Oh, someone - Keller? - just stole my thunder, saying that Portland fans couldn't stop the Salt Lake Party Machine.  So, um, that was the point.  Just going to have this paragraph keep going until I can end it gracefully.  Maybe I should just end it.

"Mayhem" was a prisoner in "Oz," so - well, picturing what he did on that show probably makes these ads even more effective.  I'd LOVE insurance if I were going to Em City.

Lot of Galaxy clips in that little reel.

Fan tifo - LOADER.  I don't get it.

Adrian and Tim.  Doesn't have the big city glamor of Frisco, Texas.

Wait, I thought "I believe" was an irritating Salt Lake thing.  Is it also an irritating Kansas City thing?  And how has no supporters group done any "I believe I'll have another beer" tifo yet?

Welcome to Blue Hell!  They got the Fats Domino song very, very wrong.

Salt Lake sent a bunch of fans.  This isn't the place to replay the ticketing drama, but was a time when tickets to MLS Cup weren't exactly hard to get.

It's a good thing this is a great-sounding sellout, because the ratings for this will suck.  Wonder how many Missouri Tigers fans are at Lance Armstrong Memorial.

Kickoff!  Looks cold.

Yes, there was a preseason brawl between these teams, because, Roger Espinoza.  Guy's a thug.  They can't hate each other THAT much - they agree about Colorado, after all.

City midfield controlling so far, because of course they want to make me look stupid.   Feilhaber - oh, never mind, City got it back.  Zusi wins a corner.

I thought that KC would start slow, because they did against a Dynamo team that didn't have Bruin or Clark.  And here they are attacking.  Salt Lake is okay on set pieces, so nothing doing here.

"WE ARE AT HOME!"  Is what my fan group is saying for the first time in three years.

Zusi keeps it in.  Huge, huge defensive letdown breaks Nagamura free, and Paolo - underrated Paolo, I called him - sends it off to Nebraska.  Thanks, everyone.   No one's read this yet and I need to delete it.

Caring about Bieler is evidently still a thing.  Okay, then.

Well, they need to talk about something while they're tending to the injury.  Uri's challenge to Findley was...well, stupid, but at least Findley was in no injury danger, the way stupid challenges usually end up.

Wait, who's "Ray Al"?  A cheerleader?  Salt Lake fans cheering for him.

Ooh.  Oops.  Uri's challenge worse and worse - Olum is in, tactical genius Peter Vermes is down one sub.

City still on the attack, though, which doesn't say much about Kreis and his adventurous game plan - oh, what's the use, I knew there was a chance Salt Lake would simply hang back and absorb pressure.  I was hoping they'd take advantage of the midfield manpower advantage, but I'm not going to be a highly sought after free agent coach after the final whistle.

Robbie Findley!  Say, how come no one talks about him going to the World Cup?  He did last time!

Extremely professional foul.  Crowd is miffed about it.  Morales and Zusi doing gamesmanship.  This is why refs should be armed with tasers.

KC fake free kick, then Zusi sends it safely off.  I hope Sporting KC is proud of that.

Sapong fouled - another Zusi free kick.  Better than the last one, as it reaches a City player.  Corner kick, somehow.  Was Nagamura exhorting the crowd to make noise?  Looked like it.  Zusi, right to Rimando.

Who is timewasting?!  Wow, no wonder people hate soccer.

And, lousy pass gives the ball back to KC.  Remember when I anticipated a flawless Salt Lake game plan?

THIS two week break is fine, because players have healed.  The international break, though - well, what if the US had been in a meaningful game, though.  I guess I have no real complaint...but the cold, lousy games should be at the beginning of the season against Chivas USA, not MLS Cup.

Ooh.  Yeah, that should have been a yellow card.  Dangerous kick from Dwyer.

I love Taylor, but "who wants it more," absent a serious, obvious lack of effort from one team, is just the worst cliche.  OCCASIONALLY a team will give up when the going gets tough, but in the first twenty minutes of a tie championship game?  Unless the point is that if one team decides they don't want to be pro soccer players anymore, then yes, the other team will probably win.

What the hell was that?  RSL is playing like the initials stand for Real Cabo San Lucas.  Doesn't it get cold in the mountains?

And didn't the players warm up?  Oh.  Wind chill, eleven degrees.  Okay, this is turning into an NCAA championship game, and I don't mean that as any kind of compliment.  Maybe I've been mean to the NCAA all these years, and they play like that because it's December.

At least for a week we'll have a break from winter schedule idiots.

Well, maybe three days.

One day.

At least until tomorrow morning.

Well, at least we won't have any of those pesky "referees" calling "fouls."  Findley still down.  Replay shows how utterly hilarious it was.  Just the definitive Collin foul.  If that's not even a foul, let alone a card, then this will end up in a brawl.

So, if they liked each other, would they be playing worse?

That's weird, someone in a yellow shirt is on the field, and he pulls a yellow piece of paper out of his pocket and waves it around.  Where's security?  Is he a fan or something?  A coach?  What's his deal?

Zusi to - nobody.  Rimando's positioning should be the - you know, every time I compliment someone, they stink up my television, so I'll just hold this thought.

And good thing, from the Salt Lake point of view, because Zusi sure got his cross in that time.  Sapong tried the near post, and Nick was there.  Corner.  Findley clears, which, you know, he's the guy you want doing that?

Kansas City fans are shocked that a foul is called on Sporting, and so am I.

Cheeky backheel - well, I guess it was too someone.  At least he put the ball in space, did Findley.  It's not going to happen, but would a hat trick from Robbie put him back in the roster discussion for real?  I only ask because I want to hurt you, the reader.

Collin with the "no hard feelings?" move after another crime against humanity.  I see why people like him.

Okay, trying to explain this...Nielsen with the AWFUL decision.  Pure Cudicini.  Ball falls to Findley, who goalposts it.  Nielsen recovers.  I honestly thought this game was going to be well-played, despite the temperature.  I'm now going through trying to remember the worst-played MLS Cups, and so far this one is a freaking runaway.  We're at the "half hour I'll never get back" mark.

UPSET ALERT, says the lower crawl.  And I am.  I expected better.

Is the field covered with ice?  City with a sustained attack with plays, and RSL with defense, that is not consistent with any other explanation.

Collin must have been a travel agent in a previous life, because he sure loves to give out trips.  Even the ref notices.  It's only Robbie Findley, just let him run, shoot and miss.  RSL free kick twenty-five yards away is not a better option.

Theoretically.  Unless Saborio or Morales secretly switched their coffee with Folger's Suck Rocks.

Huh.  Chip over the wall to onrushing Lakers.  Oh, Collin keeps them all onside.  That's good scouting, because I'm sure that was something Kreis told his guys to expect.  Finally, the kind of RSL I expected.  Collin nearly the biggest goat since Pan, and we're still not to forty minutes.

Or am I being too disrespectful to City?  They are controlling the game, after all.  That doesn't happen to RSL too often.

New England, Houston, Portland and LA should all be kicking themselves right now.  Although, they probably would have been chilly too.

Olum with the shot - usually I get irritated when onrushing midfielders send their ill-timed shots to the stars, but why the hell not, really?

Sinovic complaining about RSL being dirty, cheating divers.  That will end well.

Crowd is out of it, too, and the announcers are sniping at each other.  I'm no longer apologizing for all those bad Galaxy MLS Cup wins.

Although, one set of fans will look back at this fondly, like I do with the 2002 and 2005 lemons.  Also, for the first time in several years I have no had a refreshing adult beverage before the game.

Oh, here's the brawl.  Offsetting yellow cards.  Felihaber and Saborio - and really, this is a victimless crime.  I'm not the same Feilhaber fan I was back in happier days.  Hey, maybe he's still a roster candidiate!

RSL deciding that ugly fouls are the Key to Victory.  Until City proves a serious free kick threat, that's not going to change.  Fans justifiably annoyed.

But they should be annoyed at Zusi.  If he played like that for the US, Panama would be in the World Cup.

Oh, only four minutes of stoppage?  I don't want this half to EVER end!

I woke up this morning with nothing but respect for these teams, except for Feilhaber.  Now the guy's just about the game MVP.

SChuler's reaction to this foul call would have gotten him thrown out of a bseball game, because he's showing up the ref.  Who, in fairness, made a pretty show-up-able call.  KC with one last chance.  Zusi with the free kick.

Chance Myers, former MLS Superdraft #1 pick, misses a header.

Oh, my goodness.  Easily the play of the half, and it's Rimando to the rescue.  Besler found Dwyer's great run, but Rimando was right there to stop the point blank shot.  I have higher hopes for the second half now.

Vermes thinks a game with three yellow cards in the first half is going to settle down.  A little wild, he called it.

Well, why ARE Max and the ex-players sitting out in the cold?  Doesn't The Park Formerly Known As LiveStrong have decent facilities?  Yes, fans have to stand out there and experience it, but that's part of the experience.  Also, they can have beer.  I want my analysts to be able to think.  No, I'm not setting up a punch line.

Oh, this is the lead-in to the Florida State-Duke game?  Ten second clip of the two teams reminds me of the tradition, passion, and pure evil of college sports.

Hilariously, they make Don Garber sit in the cold.  Great hat, Don.

Max brings up the winter schedule.  "It's f***ing cold!" Garber doesn't scream in response.  Wait, he says it WILL happen?  WHY?!

Alexi brings up talent dilution, and ends up asking about all-international teams.  Don shoots it down without hesitation.  I agree, but, was anyone suggesting removing international player limits altogether?

Kasey asks about the salary cap.  Garber says that it's better to provide exceptions for designated players.  And then he changes the subject.  I'm paraphrasing, obviously, but he was about to not duck the question, then changed his mind.

There will be more expansion.  He's not breaking any news.  I was hoping for Truth and Consequences, New Mexico.  Max brings up Miami explicitly, to Don's obvious undelight.

Okay, let me try to expand my thoughts during this ad break.  Kasey's question was basically "Why not raise the salary cap," and Don, I think, was about to say something that could have come across as "because rank and file American players are not worth overpaying for.  I mean, would this be a better game if I went into both locker rooms and given everyone a 20% raise?  I should fine them, for Pete's sake."  Garber probably realized how impolitic it would be to come out and say "We should force teams to field Americans until Americans are worth paying for," or "mid-level Americans don't sell tickets as well as we like, which is why Brek Shea is air-quote playing for Stoke," so he hit the eject button and talked about what the fans have told him they want.  Which, MLS fans being what we are, is a polite way of saying Garber is getting a lot of bad advice.

That's how I read that exchange.  If only I had a blog, I could give this topic the attention it deserves.  And people would say "Oh, I see, sitting down and thinking it through was very helpful and" just kidding.

Well-crafted highlight/promo reel of the first half.  In case you didn't already hate both teams.

Taylor's key stat is NOT the zero count 'em zero shots on goal for RSL.  Adrian notices.  Taylor focused on the fouls, and now that I think about it, he's probably not wrong.

Whatever that thing was that was supposed to fire up the Kansas City crowd, it was - well, up to the quality of the game so far.  I can't think of anything more hurtful to say.

Adrian underestimates the number of goalless MLS Cups Taylor has been through.  Sitting next to Taylor Twellman during an MLS Cup must be a constant exercise in talking about Great Italian Mail-Order Rifles Through History with Jackie Onassis.

Should I know this song Kansas City is playing?  Because it's reminiscent of the UCLA fight song, and I'm pretty sure that's not what it is.

Zusi with a very good cross, and Sapong with the excellent job of undraping Borchers from his back and getting a shot off.  Taylor thinks CJ should have done better - okay, then.

Beltran.  Back across to - must have looked better in practice.  City again.  Sapong again - and he dribbles it all the way out.  Adrian gives Winger the credit, rather than focusing on Feilhabver getting knocked down in the penalty box.

RSL attack, off as that sounds.  Nielsen AGAIN comes off his line and does not get the ball.  Not as harrowing this time, but apparently I'm owed royalties on my book, "Play Goalkeeper the Dan Loney in a Sunday Pickup Game Way."

Saborio makes PART of the crowd happy.  I'm tempted to blame Nielsen for this GOAL!  Collin joining the celebration - that will end well.  Collin to Beckerman to Saborio - oh, wait, Collin doesn't play for Salt Lake.  No, sorry, that was just really good from Kyle and Sabo, Nielsen wasn't at fault.  Collin, now....

...I didn't know Beckerman has never been in the Best XI.  That is pretty amazing.  The Best XI almost never is, though.

Well, so far Real Salt Lake wants it more.  Kansas City has thirty-five minutes to decide whether or not MLS Cup is one of their priorities, or whether they have complete and full lives without it.

Dwyer not at all happy about what, to me, looked like RSL playing defense.  There might have been a bit of a shove, though I wouldn't expect a penalty kick from anything like that.

Ooh.  Feilhaber and Zusi with a nice sequence, until Zusi failed the shot.

There was a handball controversy on the goal?  There shouldn't be.

Rimando time wasting with more than a half-hour left.  Yeesh.  Don't make me watch college football, Nick.

Ugh.  City with a lousy pass in midfield, and for once Collin gets the ball clean.  In fairness, it was only Robbie Findley.

That was...and Kansas City got a corner out of it.  You know, it was barely acceptable - and it led to a short corner, which RSL easily clears.  I guess Kansas City did a good job to make that into a chance, but the passes were so off target, it was just a series of receiving players compensating, then being forced to make their own off-balance pass, then...yeah, Kansas City is not getting back into the game with stuff like that.

Findley finds Beckerman - off the post!  And we blow the whistle.  Oh, yeah, a goal would not have been offside, but everything after would have been.  Kyle Beckerman is having a glorious day.

Oh, dear.  City should have equalized.  Sapong wins the ball, gets the cross off, and Wingert with the amazing recovery.  I think he was ball-watching, but Taylor and Adrian don't.  All's well that ends well for Salt Lake - oh, the whole thing was offside?  Not by freaking much, if it was.

Also, Chance Myers probably should have beat Wingert to that ball anyway, was my other point.  Or would have been my other point, if it had been a legal play.

Kansas City realizes that whoever scores the most goals wins, and have decided that they want it a little.  Another corner.

Kansas City fan behind the goal with a blue Indian headdress.  What?  For all I know, he's Sioux.  And it was blue, so he's not just recycling Chiefs gear.

Corner went nowhere, obviously.

Taylor campaigns for Claudio Bieler, whoever that is.

I see Stoke won.  Do I have to go back and check whether Brek Shea played?

Aurelien gonna Collin.  Adrian says it wasn't a card-worthy challenge.  Because Adrian is, apparently, crazy.  RSL free kick.  Nielsen with the punch, and is not forced to regret it.

Feilhaber with the pass to Chance Myers that warms my heart.  Out for an RSL throw, by ten yards.  Wingert out for Bieler.  Well, no, but it would be funny.  Bieler just gives up and joins the other team.  Lovel Palmer in for Salt Lake.  Do we know who is out for KC?  I was typing.  They'll tell me, I'm sure.  Maybe it was Nielsen.

RSL with the break, and OH LORD!  What a nice, nice shot from Morales.  Nielsen knew nothing about that, but it hits the far post and saunters along the front of the goal.  Still a one-goal game, but it looks like that's too much for Kansas City.  They've looked worthless.

One way to get Kansas City back in this game would be to clear the ball directly to him with no defender around, but Salt Lake gets away with it.

Field is apparently icy, so I should get off people's cases.  Except for those who scheduled a December final.  Kansas City wins another corner, and...oh, dear.

Aurelien Collin.  GOAL!  And we're all tied up!  Am I going to be one of those jerks who say that he easily could have been carded out by now?  Yes, I am!  Collin outmuscles the rookie - GUESS HE WANTED IT MORE - and we're in for a fabulous finish to a lousy game.  I'm cool with that.

Maybe this game runs long and FSU-Duke has to wait.  I'd laugh.

We have fifteen minutes of regulation, then half an hour, then penalties.  Gonna give Rimando a TEENY edge in a PK shootout situation, but hey, City is back and better than ever.

Zusi, to Sinovic - to BIELER!  WHO MAKES A HORRIBLE SHOT!  Apparently that was a good play from him.  Be funny if he had the winning goal.

Someone gave Kyle Beckerman a bloody nose. Maybe a barber ran onto the field.

Saborio - nope, doesn't get the shot off.  This is anyone's ball game.  No, Taylor, we didn't get a GOOD game, we have an EXCITING one.

Fans not happy with Schuler's defending, or the ref's refusal to voice an opinion on same, or perhaps both.

Kyle Beckerman directly to Nielsen.  Interesting strategy.

For an exciting game, teams are kind of now kicking it back and forth in aimless desperation.  Beckerman taken out, finds Saborio anyway, who finds Gil - nice defense from Sinovic to save the game, at least for the moment.  Good sequence all around - except for the Nielsen mistake that set up the chance.

Another KC free kick - RSL isn't exactly playing squeaky clean, either.  Zusi set it up.  They try Collin again, but they were ready.  counter-attack.  Grabavoy - well, he had a nice long run, but didn't get a lot of help.  Sinovic takes away the angle, then forces the corner.

Gil out, Sebastian Valesquez in.  In other news, the barber who attacked Beckerman has been released on his own recognizance.

Another close call for City.  Ned Grabavoy feels like being a hero, apparently.  But does he want it enough?

Zusi, not terribly convincingly, gets in Kyle's face.  Do these teams like each other?  Why are people afraid to ask this question?

Fans all bent out of shape about something, who knows.  Zusi corner.  It leads to an RSL break, which isn't usually the plan, but Nagamura puts a stop to it.  Wow, we're almost done with regulation.  I'm being a pill here, this IS exciting.  I just have seen better games, and I feel I should have gotten one.

Cross to nowhere, clearance to nowhere, and guys, it's not gonna get LESS cold.  Might as well score now.

Two minutes left.  Or, thirty-two.

That's right, Duke fans.  You just wait for your upset.

Beckerman with the sloppy pass, and this game has kinda fallen apart.  Feilhaber fouled, ref calls advantage, Benny does nothing with it and rails at the ref.  Benny for the US!

And we have another thirty to go.  I miss golden goal.  Seriously.  Yeah, you can lose on a fluky goal.  You can in regulation, too.  I should get over it.

Hey, did you know that Florida State fans invented the tomahawk chop?  But their greatest crime is making me cheer for Duke.

...did ABC show OJ Simpson in this Rose Bowl ad, in their great moments?  College sports are EVIL!  Evil evil evil!  Manservant Hecubus!  What are college sports?

Kids in the Hall reference.  It was easier than actually trying to be creative.

I seriously don't see Jimmy Nielsen today winning a PK contest, so watch exactly that happen, just to make me look and feel silly.  Most everything in American soccer, after all, is designed to make me look and feel silly.

A lot of flags being waved in midfield.  That's usually more of a Supporter Thing, so good job getting a bunch of hardcore fans to support the team.  This is probably an awesome time to be a Sporting fan.  Especially the ones who used to be Wiz fans.

Nagamura decides to be Brazilian, but not Brazilian enough.  I mean his shot missed, not that he's clean-shaven.

Midfield fans have stopped waving the flags, because the game is on and they're invested in the outcome.  Waving flags during run of play is mecha-stupid.

I'm working on an "Aurelien bursts out of Schuler's stomach!" joke.  Wish me luck.

Wow. Bang bang excitement there, and Nick Freaking Rimando with the save.  Zusi could have won it, or at least come close to winning it.  No golden goal, you see.

Oh, the Duke game isn't for another hour and a half.  I'm now cheering for a PK contest that goes fifty shots each.

Maybe Bieler doesn't play because he's not so great?  Just throwing that out there.

Bieler with the pass to Zusi, and it was a nice pass and all, I guess.  Zusi corner, and really, who knows what the hell will happen.

See?  Rimando punches instead of catches, and City gets another shot.  That one is cleared.  Rimando is punching now.  We're through the looking glass.

How is that a foul on Palmer?  I mean, besides by any definition in the world.  Palmer bemused by it anyway, for some reason.  Another Zusi free kick.  Okay, it's cold, but if he's Donovan free kick heir, KC should have won this 10-1.

These teams don't like each other!  Saborio is Sporting's millionth customer and wins a free punch to the face.  Chance Myers tries to do the sportsmanship thing, which Saborio rightly dismisses.

Sapong has been mulling over whether he wants it, and it seems like he's leaning towards it, all other things being equal.

Another yellow.  If I've given you the impression that this exciting game still isn't a messy pile of mess, I apologize.

Zusi free kick, from has to be fifty yards off - RSL cheats on it, and it nearly doesn't help.

RSL attack.  Saborio, weirdly, with the mistake, and City now has a chance.  Nagamura finds Bieler in the box, pass to Sapong - wow, that was nice.  Schuler was all over him, probably the other side of legally, and Bieler's head pass was really nice.  Why doesn't he start?  He's such a quality player.

That's a penalty.  That's an obvious, certain, definite - nope!  Guess not!  Fans not entirely on board with the non-call.

Replay shows that Schuler was totally at fault.  RE-replay, though, vindicates the referee.  Sapong tangled himself up with Schuler, and these angry Kansas City fans are not, in fact, justified, although there's no earthly way they should know that.  Or care if they did.

And that was nearly the dumbest game-winning goal in history, maybe one of the dumbest ever.  Adrian says "We haven't heard much from Findley," and Robbie sends the game-winner in to Saborio while Nielsen knocks the goal post off its moorings.  Except, oops!  It's offside.  Good call, too.  I believe in daylight offside, but that's not the rule right now.

Oh, halftime and a half.  Fifteen to go.  Commenters shiver and blame SKC composure.  Refereeing crew gets some love.  Which is true, unless you think cards should have been handed out even more liberally.  Maybe that should be an off-season directive.  Professional foulball is not fun to watch, and swathes of this game should be entered into evidence as such.

Nielsen time-wasting, because he likes his chances in penalties.  Longer look at headdress guy.  He's by golly going to drum Kansas City to victory, if that's what it comes to.  I'm not hating, I've been there.

Minus the headdress.  Don't think I could make it work.

Besler with the long throw, which Rimando catches.  The beautiful game!

Morales dribbles into Myers, then falls over.  These guys are gassed, or thereabouts.  They didn't take their Pretty Game pills in any case, but now it's just down to who wants it more.

Or whoever is better at association football.

Palmer with the hopeful ball towards Findley, and Collin fails to head it past Nielsen.  City's turn.  POOR pass, and it's RSL again.  Beltran knocked over in the corner of the penalty area, no call, probably because a penalty kick in that situation would be cruel even by MLS standards.

Bieler commits a foul, and the fans erupt at him!  Or, more likely, at the ref for calling it.

EIGHT MINUTES OF STOPPAGE?!  Oh, wait, no, Plata in for Findley.

And now Vermes, who had to make a sub in the first half against his wishes, has one left.  It's like a chess match where the pawns hit each other, to paraphrase Jack Handey.

Morales with the free kick, and let's see how tired he is, or how much he wants it.  Bad free kick, perhaps because KC fan yelled "you're awful!" at him and hurt his feelings.

Well, perhaps not.

Nat Borchers.  Let me tell you, if I were gay...he'd turn me straight.

Oh, Taylor reminds us - well, me - of the 2012 Open Cup final, which Kansas City won on penalties.  Nielsen didn't have two hours of garbage in the freezing cold then, though.

Nothing is being strung together, probably due to exhaustion and cold.  This is why saying who wants it more is so insulting, both teams are obviously playing their damned hearts out.

Which is why it's tied, because both teams want it equally.  I'm going to go hit my temple with a hammer now.

SCORE ALERT! says the bottom crawl.  Okay, we'll see if that's true.

Kreis as nervous as I've ever seen him, and it's because it's totally out of his hands, barring a shootout.  No subs, everything on the line - he's not the most chillaxing dude in any case, but he's in a state.

Beckerman - Velsaquez - nope.  I thought they were going to find the seam there.  Wait, her'es Plata. And he nearly finds Saborio, but Besler is on the case.  Don't know what Nielsen was doing, though.

And we are done with actual soccer.  Now it's penalties.

I hate penalties.  Just the worst, dumbest, silliest - okay, I want a poll of the players.  They're gassed, exhausted, and in freezing conditions, but I'll bet they'd rather keep playing.  Just go to golden goal.

Did Vermes leave a sub on the shelf?  Does he think he's going to need one in the shootout?

Say, is that allowed?  Serious question.  Maybe Vermes has a plan.

No, it's not a crapshoot, yes, it's a skill.  But it's a specific skill irrelevant to which team is better at association football.  Which team has the fifth best penalty-taker is not an acceptable way to pick a god-damned champion.

Yes, our 1999 Women's World Cup win was a fraud.  So there.

It's almost beneath my dignity to cover a penalty shootout, that's how much I hate them.  "I've had enough watching soccer, let's watch these same players do something else," I'm apparently supposed to think.  How about a rap battle, or a chili cookoff?

I wasn't emotionally invested in the result anyway, but now?  I'm already wrong about my prediction - RSL didn't win outright, so I'm wrong.  If they win a shootout, how much of a snipe (anagram) would I be if I crow about picking the winner?

Cheers from the crowd while I type.  Bieler is AWESOME!, apparently.  Well, that's it, Kansas City - oh, maybe they have.  Nielsen doesn't need to save, says Adrian.

They're not dead yet, but, couldn't RSL have had freaking terrible penalty shots a few years ago?

No, it's not hypocritical of me to look back and wish MY team had won a crapshoot.  I won't complain if the US wins the World Cup on a bad PK shootout, either.  It's just a crummy way to pick a winner.

It's not even that exciting.  It would be exactly as exciting, given the stakes, if they were actually flipping coins.

Nielsen with the save - HE'S AWESOME, TOO!  EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!

Maybe Kansas City is a better team than Real Salt Lake, but I guess we'll never know.

Well, unless we look at the regular season game.  And the standings, although KC got fat on the East.

It's still going on.  Crowd is quieter.

Plus, now we'll never, ever know who wants it more.

Feilhaber with, perhaps, the douchiest non-Carlos Ruiz penalty in history.

Apparently it all comes down to this kick.  Let me know how it ends.

Just kidding, I was watching.  Zusi missed.  I'm now invested in a PK shootout that NEVER ENDS.

There was an old Snickers commercial to that effect.  Not going anywhere for a while?  They have funnier ads now.

Morales with an even douchier penalty than Feilhaber.  I hope this goes on forever.  I hope they die doing this.  I hope we all die watching this.

Right down the middle from a rookie defender.  There is no God.

City waits until now to send a forward to take a shot.  Because God doesn't exist, but Satan does.

Let this wicked world be consumed in never-ending fire.  Off the post, another goal.  I want my kids to grow up without me, because I am spending my life watching this.

"Who's that mummified corpse with the laptop?" their future spouses will ask, and my kids will say, "That's our father.  We never knew him.  We didn't see much of him after the great PK shootout of 2013-2017," they'll say.

Nielsen saves Velasquez.  In the words of Insane Clown Posse, the carnival will carry on.

Is someone ahead?  Is someone behind?  Is there any such thing as good or evil?  Can a meteor just hit and end it all.

Some team will have the god-damned gall to celebrate a championship after this.  They're going to walk up to a podium and act like they won something.  Jesus Communist Christ.

My Little Pony is on Netflix, you know.  I could be watching something positive.

I don't need this crap.  I need some other crap.

Collin, with a picture perfect penalty against Nick Rimando, because of course.  We live in a dark, broken world.

Did someone win?  Apparently.  Because a defensive substitute isn't that good at penalty kicks.

Congratulations to Kansas City Wizards fans.  I mean - you know what, screw it.