The final installation of this brief look at both sides of the coin for each semifinalist. Here's the lone Western Conference semifinalist.
Real Salt Lake
Why they will win MLS Cup: The 2008 RSL side is the definition of peaking at the right time. This team had talent and some experience playing together at the beginning of the season. At different times this year, the club looked pretty strong on both sides of the ball but had problems putting things together for 90 minutes. The confidence level was also low during the season but continued to grow and evolve as did the rest of the team.
The late goal at the death of the regular season also helped RSL's rapid development. The team gained confidence afterward and knew they could get the job done in the playoffs. After knocking off a tough Chivas USA side in the first round, RSL now believes that the only team that can stop them is themselves.
Tactically, the team is very strong. Yura Movsisyan is coming into his own and Kyle Beckerman and Javier Morales provide excellent support in the midfield. The defense is underrated but Jamison Olave and Chris Wingert are strong achors while Nick Rimando pieced together a fine season. Everything is falling into place at the right time.
Why they won't win MLS Cup: This team may have talent and may be coming together but collectively this team has not played long together, particularly in a playoff setting. This is RSL's first-ever trip to the postseason and the team is still feeling its way in the playoffs. Playing at home with an MLS Cup berth on the line brings with it loads of pressure and this inexperienced side may not be able to handle the pressure.
The team also does not have a lot of players who have playoff experience. Nick Rimando guided DC to the 2004 MLS Cup title but this team has a lot of youth (Movsisyan, Beckerman, Johnson) who have not had a lot of playoff experience.