THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — C.J. Sapong and Aurelien Collin gave Sporting Kansas City a 2-0 victory over the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids on Wednesday to advance to the Eastern Conference playoff finals.
Real Salt Lake also advanced to the Western Conference finals for the second time in three years with a 3-2 aggregate victory over the Seattle Sounders.
Seattle topped Real Salt Lake 2-0 at home on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough to offset a 3-0 loss in the first leg of the two-game semifinal series in Salt Lake on Saturday.
Collin deflected Graham Zusi’s free kick into the net to open the scoring for Kansas City in the 28th minute. Sapong directed a header past Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens to get Sporting’s second goal in the 76th minute.
Sporting had defeated Colorado 2-0 on Sunday to take the first game in their series. The side will play either the Houston Dynamo or Philadelphia Union in the Eastern Conference finals starting on Sunday.
The Rapids were without several players due to injuries. Captain Pablo Mastroeni has been out since suffering a concussion in mid-October and Jamie Smith injured his knee in a wild card playoff victory last week.
Three more players went down in Sunday’s loss: Ireland striker Caleb Folan, Kosuke Kimura and Drew Moor. Tyrone Marshall was missed Wednesday’s contest after being red-carded Sunday.
Osvaldo Alonso and Lamar Neagle scored five minutes apart early in the second half for Seattle.
Salt Lake’s aggregate victory ended the career of 41-year-old Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who previously announced he would retire after the season.
Before joining Major League Soccer, he played for Millwall (1992-96), Leicester (1996-99), Rayo Vallecano (1999-01), Tottenham (2001-05), Southampton (2004), Borussia Moenchengladbach (2005-07) and Fulham (2007-08). He was also the starter for the U.S. at the 1998 and 2006 World Cups, and at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Salt Lake will face either New York or Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals this weekend.