Every once in a while things go just the way we hope. A class gets cancelled on the day our unfinished assignment is due. The traffic lights on the way to school seem to escort us to a front row parking space in the L.A. parking lot, or the gates in the Institute parking lot are raised when you’re already late for class.
As the regular season came to a close for Real Salt Lake last week, everything that needed to happen for the team from Salt Lake City to make the playoffs—happened. The Claret-and-Cobalt needed a win over Rocky Mountain Cup rival Colorado in order to keep its bleak playoff hopes alive on the final night of the regular season. Without a win, the other scenarios that had to pan out would not make a difference.
Real’s energetic forward Robbie Findley gave his team an early lead with a goal in the fifteenth minute of the game. Findley’s goal came on a header inside the right post on an assist from Fabian Espindola. Up 1-0 early, rather than drop defenders and try to hold off the Rapids, RSL notched another goal in the thirty-third minute. Again it was Findley as he converted a long pass from Andy Williams by floating the ball over the goalkeeper and hitting his target in the right corner of the goal.
Real finished off the night with a 3-0 victory over the Rapids to claim the Rocky Mountain Cup and keep the playoff picture open. Luckily for RSL, FC Dallas, who Salt Lake needed to lose, dropped a match to the Seattle Sounders 2-1 while New York handed Toronto a 5-0 drumming to clear the way for Salt Lake.
Everything played out perfectly this time as Real qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs. They will play the defending champion Columbus Crew in the first round, and whatever the outcome Salt Lake has turned a potentially disappointing season into something that can be built on.