Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy/Forward) – Landon Donovan completely dominated the Salt Lake defense in Carson to push his Galaxy into the MLS CUP Semifinals. His three goals and one assist turned the game on its head and buried Real, ending their hunt for the league championship. This game was just another chapter in the amazing career of Donovan, the best player in MLS and USMNT history. With his career on the line, he not only stepped up, he excelled. This is the trait that has marked his entire career. When Donovan is in the spotlight, he fine tunes his game and becomes nearly unstoppable. This was his third career MLS Playoff hat-trick. If the Galaxy continue playing like this, Donovan might just go out a champion.
Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution/Midfielder) – Lee Nguyen has had arguably the best season of any player in MLS. He is not only in contention for MLS MVP, he should also be in contention for MLS Comeback Player of the Year because his level of play this season has been so much higher than anything he has ever produced. He has become a true leader for a team that desperately needed one to step up if they wanted to make a run in the playoffs. The addition of a solid defensive presence behind him in midfield, Jermaine Jones, has helped Nguyen get more involved in the attack. He tallied the games first goal in the 43rd minute when he received a flick from teammate Teal Bunbury. Columbus let a free running Nguyen get to the ball first and he buried it in stride. The Revolution will now face rivals New York Red Bulls to determine the Eastern Conference participant in MLC CUP 2014.
Real Salt Lake – Real Salt Lake were totally out of sorts in their matchup against LA. They came into the game looking unprepared for the inevitable Galaxy attack, which ended the night scoring five unanswered goals. The Galaxy were not only the best defensive team in MLS this season, they were also the best offensive team this season. Real had to know they would be facing an onslaught, yet they looked like they didn’t know how to respond when that moment occurred. Real looked like Brazil when Germany started picking them apart. No answers, blank stares and nothing but embarrassment to show for their trip to SoCal. This was a sad ending for a team that performed very well in their first season without their club leader Jason Kreis.