LA Galaxy and Landon Donovan's Fairytale Fifth
The hype of the final was seriously stressed with the addition that this final would be a US Soccer legend’s final game. Although the Galaxy emerged victorious, their display on the field Sunday was in fact dreary and at many points appeared to be on the verge of being defeated. The home crowd also proved a point, that the MLS is growing at a positive rate and that US Soccer fans can also provide a rather electric atmosphere that can make the event possibly rival those in Europe.
The Galaxy went into the match with Bruce Arena’s ideal starting line up with AJ DeLaGarza returned to the lineup in his regular right back position. The Galaxy even though had their ideal starting eleven played rather badly. The Revolution dominated possession throughout the match holding the ball 56% of the final. Initially in the first half Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena started with Zardes and Keane leading the attack for Los Angeles. After the halftime whistle LA made a position switch, switching Landon Donovan and Gyasi Zardes. The switch gave Los Angeles more pace in their midfield to better support the Galaxy’s central midfielders Sarvas and Juninho.
Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho were the real warriors of the night despite the goals coming from Zardes and Keane. Sarvas was all over the pitch primarily putting in a solid defensive display, marking runners striding into the Galaxy box and making tough tackles when it was needed. The first goal came from the resilient Zardes who was able to find both his footing and the back of the net in a scramble inside the New England penalty box to put the Galaxy in the lead 1-0. Twenty-one minutes from the final whistle the Revs would level the game through what could arguably be their best player of the night, Chris Tierney.
After the final whistle at the end of 90 minutes, the match was level at 1-1 that meant extra time and another 30 minutes to win the final for both sides. Even with the extra 30 minutes to play the Galaxy looked like they were going to be defeated by the pressing Revolution. In the 111th minute Galaxy Captain Robbie Keane, who had a rather woeful game, proved why the Galaxy acquired him. Keane who was played in on goal fantastically by Marcelo Sarvas dispatched the ball pass the oncoming Bobby Shuttleworth in a cool and experienced manner.
After 120 minutes the Galaxy were victorious 2-1 and the crowd roared in absolute jubilation after a very enthralling match. Each side at the end of the game entertained 16 attempts on the opposites goal. Also both the Galaxy and Revolution had the exact amount of attempts on goal, six, the Galaxy were able to convert two of the six attempts. Those two goals were enough to propel the Galaxy to their fifth MLS Cup.
Bruce Arena commented on Landon’s final game being a “fairytale moment and that you couldn’t write it any better than this.” Truthfully that quote by Bruce Arena couldn’t be more correct about Landon’s final game and retirement. The US Legend from Redlands who really could of enjoyed a rather lucrative career abroad in Europe playing for a plethora of potential teams. Instead Donovan was one of the many few who opted to stay “home” in Los Angeles. The man who broke records for Major League Soccer and was the face of “football” here in USA has officially made his departure a memorable one.
Finally on a larger and grander scale to observe, the Stub Hub Center was packed at capacity Sunday afternoon. 27,000 thousand fans stammered into the Stub Hub Center and were in full song in support of the home side. A recent statistic has ranked attendance amongst leagues around the world and Major League Soccer was placed 8th out of 33. The MLS find themselves ranked a little behind Holland’s Eredivisie, France’s Ligue 1 and Mexico’s Liga MX.
The proof is in the attendance and among the fans as the Galaxy fans never ceased their singing and chants for their beloved Los Angeles, who have officially won the most MLS Cups in Major League Soccer history.