Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Nielsen's performance aside, it was an outstanding performance by both defenses.
For Real Salt Lake, their defense stymied an attack led by some of MLS' best attacking personalities. Graham Zusi led attack after attack into Real Salt Lake's defensive third but was only able to create one goal on Collin's header. RSL also shut down Feilhaber, whose performance in the Eastern Conference final was widely lauded.
Nick Rimando was excellent all game long, parrying away excellent chances by Dom Dwyer and C.J. Sapong in the first half and topped it all off with a fantastic save on a Zusi effort three minutes into extra time. Nat Borchers stopped a first-half bicycle kick attempt by Dwyer with his face, and Chris Schuler knocked service after service away.
Additionally, Chris Wingert had a game-saving clearance on the back post in the 62nd minute, sacrificing his body on the block in such fashion that he had to be removed from the game shortly thereafter.
Although Sporting Kansas City was not under as much pressure in the game, they were strong when they needed to be. Seth Sinovic had a game-saving recovery run when he stuffed a breakaway by Ned Grabavoy in the 87th minute. Then, in the final minutes of extra time, Sporting center-back Matt Besler made a game-saving header in front of Saborio who was lurking in front of Sporting KC's net.