SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake have believed in each other for a long time now and after a 2-1 semifinal victory over Sporting Kansas City, it looks like Utah State is starting to believe it again, too.
Images surfaced online of a large group of passionate supporters crowding the team bus at Salt Lake City International Airport immediately after the Kansas City team returned.
Ahead of the 2021 MLS season, Real Salt Lake were scheduled to finish bottom of the Western Conference.
With three games to go in the regular season, they needed one more win to solidify their playoff position. They succumbed 4-3 at home to San Jose in a crushing loss, then looked exhausted in a less than impressive performance against Portland.
But on decision day, they traveled to Sporting Kansas City and did the unthinkable after a last-second goal from Damir Kreilach.
Then they had time to rest due to an international break which allowed the club to prepare for a long time for a trip to Seattle.
Remarkably, Real Salt Lake defended their life for 120 minutes, generated zero shots and always found a way to win after a six-round penalty shootout.
Today, the Real Salt Lake train picked up steam once again beating Sporting Kansas City and earned a date with Portland in the conference final.
The victory was the first playoff victory against Sporting Kansas City in club history, having lost four consecutive times while the game against Portland will mark the club’s first conference final appearance since 2013.
The club have long believed in both now under the leadership of interim manager Pablo Mastroeni and now the Utah community is starting to dream.
Information about the next match
Real Salt Lake will travel to Portland for the Western Conference final this Saturday, December 4, with kick-off scheduled for 4:30 p.m.