Nick Rimando usually has to run the length of the field to celebrate a game-winning goal. This time, the happy mob came to him.
Goalkeeper Rimando stopped Clint Dempsey’s shootout kick, and D.C. United rode Brian Carroll’s successful kick moments earlier to a 4-3 victory over the New England Revolution in front of 21,101 in RFK Stadium on Saturday night and advanced to the MLS Cup.
“The goal scorers usually get the good celebration -- the run and jump and all,” Rimando said. “It was fun for me to do that.”
United, champion of the Eastern Conference, will play Kansas City, the Western Conference winner, for the title next Sunday at the Home Depot Center.
“They made me proud again,” Coach Peter Nowak said. “Everybody was [losing] their legs -- it was 120 minutes, a hard game for both sides.”
The teams were tied, 3-3, after 90 minutes of regulation and two 15-minute sudden-death overtimes, forcing the game to alternating penalty kicks.
The teams were tied at three kicks apiece after five shooters. Carroll, United’s sixth shooter, drove a shot high and to the left, out of the reach of goalkeeper Matt Reis.
Rimando had an inkling that Dempsey would try to score inside the right post.
“His body language before the shot, his position told me,” Rimando said.
United returns to the championship game for the first time since 1999. United won the MLS title in 1996, 1998 and 1999.