SANDY, UT — The New York Red Bulls might have backed into the playoffs, but they sauntered into the first MLS Cup Final in club history, defeating host Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the Western Conference Championship at a sold-out Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night.
The Red Bulls will face the Columbus Crew in next Sunday’s MLS Cup 2008 at The Home Depot Center. Neither team has ever won the MLS Cup — much less played in the league’s championship match.
Dave van den Bergh scored the game’s lone goal, tapping in a John Wolyniec cross that deflected off Nick Rimando’s hand in the 28th minute. The Dutch midfielder actually started the play, springing Wolyniec down the left side.
COLUMBUS, OH — Quick goals from Chad Marshall and Eddie Gaven early in the second half overcame a goal by Brian McBride and carried the Columbus Crew to a 2-1 Eastern Conference Championship victory Thursday against the Chicago Fire and the first MLS Cup berth in club history.
Marshall scored off a header in the 49th minute and Gaven scored six minutes later. Guillermo Barros Schelotto assisted on both. The Crew will play in MLS Cup 2008 on Nov. 23 at The Home Depot Center against the winner of Saturday’s New York Red Bulls at Real Salt Lake match.
McBride, a former member of the Crew, scored on a header in the 29th minute for the Fire lead, but he was beaten on the tying goal by defender Marshall 20 minutes later.
The Crew have never been afraid of falling behind. No other team had as many points after giving up the first goal. Columbus has forged at least a tie 11 of 18 times after trailing 1-0.