Cast-offs who became champions
No team wins an MLS Cup without players cast off, dropped or ignored by other teams, and the 2009 champions are no exception. Several important contributors to Real Salt Lake's MLS Cup title arrived in Utah from other teams, and controversy accompanied a few of them -- most notably captain
"He's a fighter, a competitor," said goalie
Salt Lake and Colorado met on the final day of the regular season the past two years, and both times, RSL got the result it needed to eke into the playoffs at the Rapids' expense. Beckerman had a few words for his former team, which also formerly employed current RSL defenders
"Colorado is a bad organization," says Beckerman bluntly. "L.A., we got lucky getting
Beckerman praised another Galaxy player who showed considerable class by coming into the RSL locker room to offer his congratulations: "He's a class act, he really is," said Beckerman of
Grabavoy, who converted the winning PK in the Eastern Conference final shootout win over Chicago, injected life into the RSL attack upon replacing
"You get that in a league like this, when a lot of players float around a little bit, but in a game like this you don't need any extra motivation," said Grabavoy. "It is kind of a weird feeling: I've won a championship with [L.A.] and now with this club, and I'm really excited and happy for this Real Salt Lake organization."
Findley led RSL with 12 goals this season and banged home the equalizer in the 64th minute to set up the penalty-kick shootout. He converted RSL's second attempt.
"I didn't know what to expect, really, it was something new for me," said Findley of the trade. "Yeah, I was a little nervous, but it ended up working best for me. It's whatever for me, that's in the past, and I'm enjoying it with these guys here. Same thing for Ned, we're just enjoying the moment here. It feels kind of good to get the Galaxy, but all these guys here worked hard."
"It came down to penalty kicks, which is a sad thing in this sport," said Mathis, a dynamic offensive catalyst in the second half and overtime. "I don't like to see anyone lose in this situation like we did last week, but that's the rules and you got to play by them and it's nice to be first this time instead of second."
Getting back to the captain, who worked as hard as anyone all season, Beckerman couldn't wait to talk about some friends from his first real taste of the world's game: playing for first competitive squad of the U-17 residency program, along with
"I won this tonight, but it wasn't just me tonight," said Beckerman. "There were a lot of guys on that under-17 team that won it with me. I carried the torch for them. Some guys got some raw deals in Major League Soccer and they had to get real jobs, but they won it with me tonight. I know they were watching and I'm proud to be part of that. Landon, he already has a couple [actually three MLS Cups], and I wanted one.