SEATTLE -- It wasn't pretty, but Real Salt Lake got the job done.
After drubbing the Seattle Sounders 3-0 in the first leg of the Western Conference semifinals in Sandy last Saturday, the Claret-and-Cobalt just needed to sit back and play defense if they hoped to advance to the next round.
RSL did just that, falling to Seattle 2-0 on a soggy CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, but more importantly moving on to the Western Conference championship on a 3-2 aggregate.
Osvaldo Alonso and Lamar Neagle scored five minutes apart early in the second half for Seattle, but Real Salt Lake held on down the stretch as they were peppered with a flurry of shots from the Sounders.
The loss ended the career of Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who previously announced he would retire after the season.
Trailing 3-0 and with just 45 minutes remaining in their season, the Sounders turned the final 30 minutes into a frantic mess, and that came after a breakneck first half where Seattle nearly scored on numerous occasions.
But RSL did just enough and advanced to Major League Soccer's final four for the second time in three years. RSL won the 2009 MLS Cup on Seattle's home field.
The Sounders dominated possesion throughout the game, outshooting Real 22-4, including 15 shots on goal, but RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando earned 13 saves.
It was a complete change from last Saturday's game in Sandy when RSL controlled every aspect and built what seemed to be an insurmountable advantage behind two goals from Alvaro Saborio and one from Ned Grabavoy.
But Salt Lake was vulnerable, playing without central defenders Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers and that vulnerability was exploited all night by Seattle.