PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Long after all the fans had gone and the turf was being vacuumed of confetti, Real Salt Lake was still celebrating its Western Conference championship.
Aided by a boom box, RSL players sang and danced as they headed for their bus following Sunday night's 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers. The win gave Salt Lake a 5-2 aggregate advantage in the two-leg conference final.
It also gave the team a spot in the MLS Cup against Sporting Kansas City on Dec. 7.
"It's a good win for the team," said Robbie Findley, who scored the only goal in the second leg. "I think everybody put in the hard work, and when you have that, when you have all the guys committed to working hard and doing their jobs, you win games. We feel good right now, but we have one more to go."
Salt Lake, which won the league championship in 2009, took a 4-2 lead two weeks ago at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first game of the conference final.
Salt Lake has been to the playoffs for six straight seasons, the longest active streak in MLS. It lost to Seattle in the conference semifinals last season.
RSL advanced to this year's conference final by eliminating the two-time defending league champion Galaxy in the semis.
Sunday's victory extended RSL's unbeaten streak against Portland to 10 straight matches. The Timbers remain winless against Real Salt Lake since their first meeting when Portland joined MLS in the 2011 season.
Portland went into the match with just one home loss this season. The Timbers were looking to become the first team in nine years to come back from a two-goal shortfall in the second match of an aggregate-goals series.
Portland appeared to score off a corner in the 15th minute but the goal was waived off by the referee because of a foul in the box, frustrating the sellout crowd at Jeld-Wen Field.
Findley had a rebound goal in the 29th minute. The RSL reserves spilled off the bench to join the celebration on the sideline, while Timbers first-year coach Caleb Porter looked on with pursed lips.