Sporting KC wins frigid MLS Cup

Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen (in pink jersey) hoists the MLS Cup after playing the hero in...

Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen (in pink jersey) hoists the MLS Cup after playing the hero in penalty kicks after having a rough game. (USA Today)

Kurtis Larson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

KANSAS CITY - Bringing goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to Sporting Kansas City in 2010 was a roll of the dice.

His head coach, Peter Vermes, admitted as much prior to to Saturday’s epic MLS Cup versus Real Salt Lake, saying before Nielsen’s arrival he had never even seen the 36 year old play.

For 120 minutes of Saturday’s championship match, “Casino Jimmy” — he received nine months of treatment for a gambling problem back in 2004 — was terrible.

He was culpable on Salt Lake’s opener and would have conceded a handful more had he not received help from the post.

Three times.

Then, with the Cup final level at 1-1 courtesy a late Aurelian Collin equalizer, penalty kicks came — and Vermes’ one-time gamble finally paid off.

Nielsen stoned Ned Grabavoy and Sebastian Velasquez in an stunning 10-kick penalty shootout to lift Kansas City to its second Major League Soccer title.


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