KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Chris Wingert went through a few different stages of pain in the MLS Cup Saturday.
The Real Salt Lake left back felt the physical pain of re-injuring the area in his chest where he broke a rib a month ago. It forced him to leave the game in the 72nd minute.
About an hour later, the Babylon native endured some emotional pain when he watched his team lose to Sporting Kansas City on penalty kicks, 7-6, after playing to a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes on a freezing afternoon.
"It hurts right now because we missed a huge opportunity to win another championship," said Wingert, a member of RSL's 2009 championship side. "I feel really bummed. That's a bit devastating . . . It's a tough one to swallow."
In what was the coldest MLS Cup in the 18-year history of the league -- game-time temperature was 20 degrees with a wind-chill factor of 12 degrees -- Real Salt Lake grabbed the lead on Alvaro Saborio's 52nd-minute score. Game MVP Aurelien Collin, who connected for the 76th-minute equalizer, converted the winning penalty in the 10th round of the shootout. Lovel Palmer, who replaced Wingert, then hit the crossbar to end the match.
Wingert felt lucky getting an opportunity to play. He was sidelined for three weeks after breaking a rib and suffering a collapsed lung in the Western Conference first-leg win over Portland last month. He wore special padding that protected his rib and he played his physical game.
"That's part of being a defender," he said. "You have to come out and be aggressive. I needed to come out and be physical and win challenges against. If I wasn't able to play like that, I wasn't going to play at all."
Wingert aggravated the injury on two plays, the last one when he made a sliding tackle to deny Chance Myers the ball in the penalty area in the 63rd minute. Myers hit Wingert in the chest, which sent the former St. John the Baptist and St. John's standout to the bench.
"I don't know if it's broken or not," he said. "We'll get it checked out when I get back."
The game might have been the RSL swan song for coach Jason Kreis, who is unsigned for next season and who is rumored to become the coach of NYC FC, an expansion team that will make its debut in 2015.
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