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Real Salt Lake: Western Conference Final

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New York Red Bulls

Regular season record: 10-11-9

Coach: Juan Carlos Osario

Goals for: 42. Goals against: 48

Preferred formation: 4-4-2

Road to the West Finals: Beat Houston 4-1 on aggregate in the opening round, including an impressive 3-0 win at Houston in the second leg.

Real Salt Lake

Regular season record: 10-10-10

Coach: Jason Kreis

Goals for: 40. Goals against: 39

Preferred formation: 4-4-2

Road to the West Finals: Earned a 3-2 aggregate victory over Chivas USA, including a 1-0 win at Rio Tinto Stadium in the first leg.

Forwards comparison

New York: Any team with Juan Pablo Angel starting up top is a threat to score at any time. The former English Premiere League forward is one of the top five players in the league, and he'll be a real challenge for RSL defensively.

RSL: Yura Movsisyan has been one of the hottest strikers in MLS the last two months. With that said, a good chunk of RSL's goal scoring this year has not come from their forwards as the team has mixed and matched five different forwards all year.

EDGE: New York

Midfielders comparison

New York: The coaching staff mixed up the midfield drastically against Houston leading to the impressive victory. It's hard to imagine the same unit that's played so few games together having an encore in them on the road?

RSL: RSL's strength has been in the midfield all year with guys like Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales. When they're clicking together and the unit is playing aggressive as a whole, RSL's midfield is one of the best in the league.


Defenders comparison

New York: This team has been better defensively than it was earlier in the year, but it's still a patch-work unit. Nonetheless, they blanked Houston in Game 2 last weekend and proved they can hold off anybody.

RSL: Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers have been the rocks of RSL's back four all year, with Borchers playing in every game but one. On the wings, Chris Wingert and Robbie Russell are both expected to play a large role pushing up into the attack.


Goalkeepers comparison

New York: Danny Cepero has been a nice story since filling in for the suspended Jon Conway in the last few weeks of the season. He came up with some huge saves in both legs of New York's series victory over Houston.

RSL: It's tough to beat Rimando's playoff experience. Not only does he have a championship to his credit, but he's played in 14 playoffs games as well in his career. There's no way pressure should get to him in such a game.


Coaching staff comparison

New York: Juan Carlos Osorio has been an assistant coach in the EPL and has seen soccer played at its highest level. It wasn't a smooth season by any means, but he's coached a team to the conference finals for the second straight year.

RSL: Jason Kreis has made tremendous strides in his second year as Real Salt Lake head coach. His team owns a 3-0-4 record in its past seven games and has really emerged as a dangerous attacking team in the past couple months.

EDGE: New York

Bench comparison

New York: None of New York's reserves are household names, but there's talent and experience on that bench with guys like Gabriel Cichero and Juan Pietravallo. Macoumba Kandji and Matthew Mbuta were quality midseason acquisitions as well.

RSL: With offensive impact players like Andy Williams, Robbie Findley and Fabian Espindola, the RSL coaching staff has the luxury of making some significant tactical changes if necessary. There isn't much defensive depth.