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02/27/2014
 
Even the most ardent non-supporter of Real Salt Lake had to feel for Lovel Palmer on that chilly December night at Sporting Park. When many MLS fans last saw Palmer, the Jamaican international had one hand over his mouth with a look of disbelief.

His understandable reaction right after missing the PK that ended the 2013 MLS Cup and gave the trophy to Sporting Kansas City in an epic final. His shot was on target, right down the middle but somehow elevated, and it clanged off the cross bar and away from the net. 

Palmer relived his MLS Cup drama on Wednesday after playing in a preseason match at the Desert Diamond Cup.

"I thought we had it in the bag when it came down to PKs. After our first five kickers went, we started looking at each other saying who's going to be number six, who's going to be number seven? Unfortunately it came down to me and when I stepped up, I had one thing in mind, just to smash it as hard as I could. That's exactly what I did. It hit the cross bar and came out.

"To be honest, I'm disappointed for myself and the team and the fans in Salt Lake that we didn't bring home the championship," Palmer said. "But at the same time, I learned from it. I looked at it as a positive thing. I could go and beat myself up and say hey, you're the reason why the team lost the game.

"But at the same time, you know what? I was in the final, and a lot of other players, they were at home watching it and saying 'hey, I'd rather be in your position and shooting that PK and missing than not being in the finals. You win some, some you lose."

Palmer has since moved on in more ways than one. He's had almost three months to get past the moment, which happened in the PK shootout after regulation and extra time and he's changed teams, going from RSL to the Chicago Fire. 

Palmer, 29, is on his fourth MLS team and third in the past three seasons. But he's been part of some good teams in Houston and Salt Lake, and said he's happy for the Timbers after their success last season. 

Palmer's experience, he feels, will help the Fire as they work in some young players. Palmer said Fire assistant C.J. Brown, who was with him at RSL when Brown was an assistant there, asked him to bring the RSL philosophy Palmer picked up from teammates and coaches there to Chicago. 

"He looked me as a senior guy and said, 'I want you to help us to glue the team together,'" Palmer said.

 
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