CHRIS SCHULER’S 102nd minute strike lifted Real Salt Lake to a 2-0 victory over Los Angeles last night, ending the Galaxy’s quest for a third straight MLS Cup crown.
Los Angeles went into the second leg of the Western Conference semi-final tie with a 1-0 lead, but Sebastian Velasquez put Salt Lake in front 35 minutes in.
That score stood up through regular time, and with the aggregate score level at 1-1 the match went to extra time.
Schuler emerged as the hero, sliding in to stab home a free kick from Javier Morales in the 102nd. Real Salt Lake held on for the 2-0 victory and a 2-1 aggregate triumph.
The Galaxy had lifted Major League Soccer’s ultimate prize the past two seasons — both times with the help of now-retired David Beckham.
Real Salt Lake next face the Portland Timbers, who advanced with a 3-2 second-leg victory over Seattle yesterday. Portland had won the first leg 2-1.
The Eastern Conference finals will pit the Houston Dynamo against Sporting Kansas City tomorrow.
Houston notched a 2-1 second-leg victory over the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday for a 4-3 aggregate triumph.
Houston advanced to their third straight Eastern Conference final.
It was a disappointing end to the season for Thierry Henry’s New York, the top seeds in the East and winners of the Supporters’ Shield as the team with the best regular-season record.
Sporting Kansas City advanced with a 4-3 aggregate victory over the New England Revolution, sealed with a 3-1 second-leg win on Wednesday.
The MLS Cup final will be played between the East and West champions on December 7, on the home pitch of the contender with the best regular-season record.
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