Three big saves by Rimando in the penalty shootout keeps the Fire out. Ned Grabavoy nails the winning penalty kick after Fabian Espindola misses his chance. The Fire fell victim to a peculiar directional bias that made them test Rimando low on his left as Thorrington, Pause, and Prideaux became predictable.
Rimando’s gesture to Javier Morales to keep his chin up after the crestfallen Argentinian midfielder missed his chance to bring RSL parity was part of his heroics. He nearly pulled it off when he stood up just a fraction late for Wilman Conde’s direct blast at goal and the ball sped through his hands for a 3-1 lead.
Findley who had faded after his first half effort was superbly saved by Jon Busch stepped up and kept RSL alive. Talk about pressure. Then comes Rimando’s superb save of Thorrington’s angled shot down his left which he anticipates and parries away and RSL were down 3-2.
Beckerman with his Rasta locks flying, slots the ball past Busch coolly. Veteran CJ Brown keeps Chicago ahead. Will Johnson, a Fire reject faced down his old club and converted his PK to put the shootout on level terms. Pause tries the same left side diving low and the short Rimando parries it out again.
It is left to the over rated Espindola, the target of much orgasmic delight from Chris Sullivan and Max Bretos, the two boobs babbling about his penalty taking prowess; to put the nail in the coffin. “You could not ask for a better penalty taker’ intones Sullivan. On cue, he muffs his shot by a mile. Grab your ankles, Sullivan.
Prideaux falls prey to the same tactic of shooting down Rimando’s left with the goalie in a zone by now. Finally, it all ends when Ned Grabavoy puts the exclamation mark on RSL’s dream run up to the big dance.
Congratulations to Jason Kries and Real who were unable to overcome the Red Bulls last year. This time they did it against the highly favoured Fire.