The LA Galaxy defeated the New England Revolution 2-1 in extra time at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on Sunday afternoon, following an all-too-familiar script to win their fifth championship and deny the Revolution in the final for the fifth time. Here are five thoughts.
1. Landon Donovan Retires A Champion – Said the greatest male US Soccer player even in his last press conference as a pro, “It’s always better to retire than get cut.” In the end, Donovan got the kind of proper finale to his club career that he was denied in with his national – a sixth championship, the same number of titles as Michael Jordan won and the most ever for an MLS player.
It wasn’t a vintage outing from Donovan or his team, but you could see at the final whistle what winning this final title meant to Donovan – and shudder to think at what losing it might have ravaged.
It must be fulfilling for Donovan now to see his introspectiveness and eagerness to understand, be fulfilled by, and enjoy his life be lauded by the media and fans when it was once brutally leapt upon as a sign of Donovan’s softness.
In turns laugh-out-loud funny, circumspect, wise, and nostalgic, Donovan left the soccer world – for the time being, at least – with the lasting image of a gifted but complicated man who have his last measure of devotion to the sport that in turns tortured and made him.
And that, Jurgen Klinsmann, is how a legend should go out.
2. More Cruelty For New England – In the history books, the New England Revolution will be no more than a prop in this MLS Cup, which was about Donovan and the Galaxy, but in reality, the game unfolded and concluded in an almost laughably familiar and cruel way.
From the moment Chris Tierney – the Boston kid perhaps most familiar with the Revs’ tragic history – ripped home his late equalizer and sent the game to extra-time, you knew how it would end.
Robbie Keane’s late goal broke Revolution hearts. Solace will be taken from the talent the team has returning, the fans they made in their stirring run, and the incredibly brave effort their squad gave on the biggest stage in US Soccer, but an overarching question of, “can we ever just win one!?” hangs in the air.
That’s 0-5 for New England and their coach Jay Heaps, who missed the crucial penalty to lose an MLS Cup to LA for the Revs almost a decade ago, and came up just short again.
Perhaps it was a karmic leveler for the Jermaine Jones Blind Draw.
3. Are The 2014 Galaxy The Greatest Ever? – There’s a debate to be had, no question. The Galaxy’s attacking efficiency and proficiency all year was fantastic. When LA turned it on, they were impossible to play.
LA’s attack – starting with Donovan and Keane, but moving to Gyasi Zardes and the central midfield of Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho – played the best soccer in the league.