Real Salt Lake made history on Tuesday night after eliminating clear favorites Seattle Sounders to advance to the Western Conference semifinals. After 120 minutes of play, the underdogs defeated the Sounders on the sixth round of penalties.
RSL goalkeeper David Ochoa became the instant hero, stopping Kelyn Rowe’s penalty to earn the advantage and ultimately end the Sounders’ playoff streak.
After the stunning save by Ochoa, Justen Glad then stepped up to score the sixth penalty for Real Salt Lake and secure the shocking victory.
For the first time in team history, the Seattle Sounders have failed to reach the Conference semifinals after qualifying for 12 consecutive years.
Prior to Tuesday night’s upset, the Sounders had also won 15 straight home playoff games, the longest post-season winning streak in Major League Soccer history.
Ochoa, who recently committed to Mexico’s national team, played an integral part in the team’s success against the Sounders after keeping Cristian Roldan and Raul Ruidiaz at bay to reach the penalty kicks.
Despite the 0-0 scoreboard, the game was anything but equal. The Seattle Sounders dominated from the get-go, pushing Real Salt Lake into a defensive role for most of the night.
Sounders forward Cristian Roldan took center stage to make Ochoa uncomfortable on several occasions. His best shot of the night came in the second half after finding a pocket of space deep into the opponent’s half only to curve the ball and hit the top right corner of the crossbar.
Real Salt Lake defenders made it easy for their opponents to infiltrate the box but the Sounders simply could not find the back of the net.
Before reaching overtime, the Seattle Sounders recorded 12 overall shots, while Real Salt Lake managed a whopping zero. After the final whistle, the Sounders’ domination continued to reflect in the rest of the statistics.
The home side earned 13 corners to RSL’s one, managed 21 shots and boasted 62 percent of possession. But even with the odds in their favor, the Sounders could not seal the win before losing in the ever unpredictable round of penalty kicks.
Without recording one shot in 120 minutes, Real Salt Lake advances to the coveted Western Conference semifinals. The team will now travel to Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday, November 28 to face Sporting Kansas City