While the rest of LA is “rebuilding”, the LA Galaxy not only have the 2014 MLS MVP, but are a victory away from cementing their status as a dynasty
The LA Galaxy, the pinnacle club of the MLS, has one more hill to climb before ascending to the top of the league for an unprecedented fifth time (#FirstToFiVe).
Sunday, from StubHub Center in Carson, California, the Galaxy will make their ninth trip to the Cup in franchise history and fourth in the last six years. If that’s not impressive enough, LA will be seeking their third Cup in the last four campaigns.
And while he is set to retire at the end of the year, Galaxy captain Landon Donovan (left) is seeking his sixth MLS Cup (fifth with LA).
LA’s opponent on Sunday has played a role in the championship history of the Galaxy, as Sunday marks the third time the Galaxy and New England Revolution will play for the richest prize in the sport (LA has won the previous two).
LA comes into this final match at 5-4 in the big game, while New England is yet to win, as they’re 0-4.
For New England, they are trying to avoid being the first team to go 0-5 in MLS Cup history. This is New England’s first trip since 2007, where they wrapped up their dubious run of losing three consecutive title games (2005-2007).
However, the Revolution of 2014 are on quite the turnaround after starting the year near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
Prior to New England’s 5-1 drubbing back in LA back in July, the Revolution were in the middle of one of their worst runs since the 2001 campaign. After adding U.S. National Team star Jermaine Jones to the roster, the march upward began, winning eight of their last ten matches.
For LA, their season has gone nearly as good as it could have. Defensively they’ve been dominate and offensively unlikely heroes have come from all over the field, including the 2014 MLS MVP Robbie Keane.
Sundays match will be a different test, but could draw the same results for Los Angeles. In July’s 5-1 rout at StubHub Center, LA was able to score in a variety of ways. The Galaxy have made a season out of exposing holes in opposing defenses and could have a field day on Sunday even with the Revs looking eons better than they did back in the Summer.
The New York Red Bulls were able to find those holes and attack NE defenders Jose Conclaves and Andrew Farrell, but could not capitalize on opportunities – resulting in a trip back to NYC for Christmas.
The three-headed monster in Keane, Donovan and Gyasi Zardes dominated the regular season, but with Zardes in a slump, the new third member of the dynamic trio Stefan Ishizaki (far right) should be able to capitalize if the opportunity presents itself.
New England is fast, so their pace will be their biggest advantage. Striker Charlie Davies has scored four goals in the playoffs and could wreak some havoc in the defensive zone.
The 2014 MLS Cup will be won in the midfield. LA has found a nucleus with Juninho and Marcelo Sarvas, but their task of fending off Jones and Scott Cardwell will be the focal point in the match.
If LA can contain the speed of the Revs, continue to play sound defensively and win the 50/50 battles at midfield,
The rest, would be history.