By Tim Peterson
(Carson) – Robbie Keane scored on a breakaway in the 111th minute and the LA Galaxy went to beat New England 2-1 Sunday to win the MLS Cup in two extra times. Keane got a pass on the run from Marcelo Sarvas in the sixth minute of the second extra time and drilled it by the goaltender to give the Galaxy the lead. The Galaxy then held off the Revolution over the next nine minutes to start the celebration.
It was the third title in the last four years for the Galaxy and also marked the last game of Landon Donovan’s illustrious career.
LA was up 1-0 late in the second half and appeared to be on its way to a shutout when Chris Tierney scored the tying goal in the 79th minute forcing extra time. The first extra time was scoreless before Keane finally won it in the second.
Keane missed a couple of opportunities earlier in the game before getting the game winner. “I don’t worry about missed chances. I knew I’d get another one,” Keane said. “In the end we played the best through 120 minutes. Thankfully we got the goal. New England is a good team. They battled us all day.”
The first half was scoreless and neither team had many chances to score. The Galaxy had five attempts on goal compared to two for New England. The Revolution had possession 57 percent of the time to just 43 for LA. Each team had one shot on target.
Gyasi Zardis finally broke through as he scored in the 52nd minute for a 1-0 Galaxy lead. LA had a couple of opportunities to get a second goal but couldn’t get it to go. Donovan had a free kick after a penalty but it sailed high. Keane had a shot in front of the net but it didn’t have enough on it and he was stopped.
Tierney then made them pay by jamming one home with less than 12 minutes left.
“We weren’t that good today for whatever reason. We shouldn’t have allowed that goal. But I give New England a lot of credit,” said Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena. “They’re warriors and they battled. Maybe that’s why weren’t as good today because of New England.”
With three championships in the last four years and fifth overall the Galaxy is starting to build a dynasty.
“It is a bit of a dynasty at this point with three championships in four years. That’s not easy to do,” Arena said.
With the Championship Donovan has now won five with the Galaxy and six MLS titles overall, and he is still playing at a high level.
“The decision to retire seems right. I’ll miss the experiences like today but I also know I don’t have to get up and train tomorrow,” Donovan said. “There’s a lot of good and bad but the decision definitely feels right. Could I still play longer physically? Probably. But this just feels right. It’s always better to retire than get cut.”
Keane was named MVP of the game to go along with the MVP he already earned for the 2014 season.
“Robbie is a great asset. Is it his team? No it’s Mr Anschutz’ team but he’s a big piece,” Arena said.
Donovan, who Arena described as the greatest soccer player ever, is more concerned about winning than the individual goals.
“Winning is always the most important thing. In soccer it’s sometimes harder for one player to have a big effect on the game. In basketball there are only five players on the court and in football the quarterback touches the ball on every play,” Donovan said. “But in soccer every player has to contribute to make the team better. Like today, I didn’t have a great a game but I did what I could to help. That’s why winning as a team is the most important thing. Don’t get me wrong, the individual awards are nice but the winning is the most important.”
And win the Galaxy have done having rose to the top of Major League Soccer again.