Top Stories

Galaxy win record 5th MLS Cup on Keane extra-time winner

LA Galaxy MLS Cup Final celebration 22

Photo by Kelvin Kuo/USA Today Sports


CARSON, Calif. – Landon Donovan is going out on top, and the LA Galaxy are champions once again.

In a replay of the 2002 and 2005 MLS Cups, the New England Revolution and LA Galaxy played into extra time to decide the 2014 champion on Sunday. Following the same script, the Galaxy came away triumphant, 2-1, at StubHub Center to claim their record fifth MLS Cup and third title in four years.

The winner came in the 21st minute of extra time, when Galaxy captain Robbie Keane broke loose behind the New England defense on a long ball from Marcelo Sarvas and tucked home the winner past sprawling New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. For his efforts, Keane was awarded the MLS Cup MVP.

“It was not the best game, to be honest with you,” said Keane. “It was hard. New England played very well. We have to give them a lot of credit, the way they came and really set their game plan. But at the end of the day, when it’s 120 minutes, it’s whoever comes out stronger in extra time. I thought we came out stronger in extra time.”

Added Sarvas: “It was a hard moment in the game. Everyone was very tired. The ball was going in slow motion, and then I see the ball in front of Robbie, in good position to score, it’s a great feeling, and even better when I see the ball in the net.”

The Galaxy drew first blood in the 52nd minute, when Gyasi Zardes pulled down a deflected Stefan Ishizaki cross inside the New England goal area, held off two defenders while taking two touches to control the ball, then slammed a shot far post low to beat Shuttleworth.

New England answered with the equalizer in the 79th minute, when a lapse in the Galaxy central defense gave another unexpected hero, Chris Tierney, a clean look at goal. Tierney poked the ball past Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, silencing the sold-out crowd of 27,000.

“Great build-up” said New England head coach Jay Heaps. “I thought (Patrick) Mullins did a great job keeping it alive, and I thought Chris did a good job finding a little gap and scoring a good goal.”

The Galaxy seemed to have taken control of the match opening the scoring, as New England could not manage any touches in the final third until Tierney’s goal. However, it was the Revolution who threatened late but could not find the winner before extra time.

Lee Nguyen was even knocked over in the penalty area late in the game, but referee Mark Geiger allowed play to continue. The Revolution also came close on a play that saw a Teal Bunbury chip denied by the woodwork.

“The penalty there, it was close” said Heaps. “Teal hitting the crossbar, it was close. It was late in the game, you know, it’s unfortunate.  Those are the ones that decide.”

Extra time featured a chorus of whistles from Geiger, which allowed little flow to the affair.

The crowd erupted after Keane broke the game open, and tempers flared on the pitch. Geiger flashed three consecutive yellow cards, all involving conflicts surrounding New England midfielder Jermaine Jones.

When the final whistle blew, players on both sides collapsed in exhaustion.

“At the end of the game, I just laid there and sobbed a little bit,” said Galaxy defender A.J. De La Garza in the jubilant Galaxy locker room. “A lot of emotions right now, the year we’ve all been through, it’s been crazy. But there’s no better way to go out than winning a championship at home in front of your own fans.”

For New England, the frustration continues. The club has now lost in all five of its MLS Cup appearances.

The loss of Nguyen to cramps at the end of regulation contributed Sunday’s loss, as it forced Jones to play higher in an effort to manufacture offense from the central attacking midfielder spot.

“I thought we had them,” said Heaps. “I’m proud of our guys. There’s a real competitiveness in there, a real willingness to lay it all on the line.  I thought we were the aggressor today a lot of the time.  No one really gave us a chance today, and our guys rallied around that.”

Added Arena: “You got to give New England a lot of credit. They came in here with a plan. That Jermaine Jones is a real leader. It was a good battle, maybe not the greatest game, but there was some drama involved, and that’s good as well.”

For the Galaxy, the script went almost as well as they could have dreamed. They say goodbye to Donovan, who is now heading into retirement, with another MLS Cup trophy in tow.

“There is no experience like what just happened,” said Donovan. “… I can’t imagine that anything can replace that.”


  1. The game was a alright, entertaining and good enough for MLS quality. I would have love a galaxy vs red bull MLS cup to see Henry at the game and I was surprise Beckham didn’t show up for Donovan.
    Another opinion, espn totally sucks and their commentators need some action and even though I can understand Spanish around 80%, it was way better.
    I was also lost since I didn’t know anything about MLS cup during the week until today morning, very sad from MLS marketing and espn, very sad.
    Now it’s time to look forward in MLS, new logo, new teams and hopefully expand to the right markets and have promotion and relegation in less than years.
    MLS needs to start an MLS2 or threat NASL or scare NASL, in order to communicate to begin pro/rel.
    But I’ll say this a million times, IF MLS starts some sort of pro/rel, make it unique and profitable for MLS teams, in which no MLS 1 teams goes down for the first years, only the promoted team.
    It’s perfect and so easy to work with.
    For example, l would love for MLS to expand to 28 teams and stop there. Then RESERVE 4 spots, 2 in each conference, which would be 2 teams for each conference as in west and east. (THE RESERVE SPOTS WILL BE FOR MLS2 TEAMS)
    Then let those 4 teams battle for life in MLS and have fun in MLS1 and which ever team makes less points in their conference will go down to make room for the coming champion and runner up from MLS2. Easy as that MLS fans.

  2. Parity? if that equals more exciting play with greater tenacity and for longer periods of the game I am for it. Otherwise I’ll continue to spend more time watching European and Mexican soccer.
    Today’s Players Exhausted? Well it wasn’t because they continually shifted into support of the ball holder. Donovan showed to the sideline rarely allowing NE defense to stay compact. Did he have the stomach flu? I don’t watch enough MLS (although I was at the game). Not to pick on him but he would position himself between the defender and the ball holder. I guess they expect chips over the top. Balls were long, not to feet often (or where not at feet when they should have been). To the passers credit, guys did not move enough away from defenders (or carrying defenders with them) when possession was gained to safely pass to feet many times.
    Did anyone see the propaganda in the sky? “US Soccer: relegation/promotion now”. This is good, I am not a fan of the MLS top down team structure and creation (i.e. the new LAFC and NY City FC). My guess is it prohibits strong farm system creation in the US. As a generality, kids with a college degrees will not work the same (on the pitch) as a kids who barely get through JC and soccer is his only hope, at the moment. There needs to be a cadre of young legs that will play within the systems (i.e. f**k’in move) with considerable passion to support the super stars.

    • Donovan said after the Seattle series that the Galaxy spent a lot of practice time on spacing, running off the ball to get open, etc. So, it’s not like it hasn’t been a point of emphasis by Bruce and his staff.

      • To add to the above, the Galaxy have dominated possession against teams in probably three quarters of their games because they have been successful art this aspect of their play this season.

    • just an fyi, the playoff games leading up to the final are almost always more exciting and better games for the neutral to watch. definitely the case again this year imo

      • Good point BB. I totally dig it. Unfortunately being a bit of a lame ass at times, I was with some fellas at my house drinking left over beer on the Sunday night of the 2nd leg of the Seattle series, but we were watching a champions league tape from that week. All three of us completely unaware of the great Galaxy game taking place at the moment. Thus, the problem with MLS; three males, peak of earning power, 10 kids between us, and MLS was not on our brain. Magic Johnson and a new stadium may not be the sliver bullet that will get me there. BTW. I am an LA native thus was there to watch the Galaxy. My wife and I would bike to the Rosebowl, buy $5 (or $7 or so can’t remember) end zone seats, watch Cienfuegos and listen to “culeeeero” sung every 10 minutes. We’d buy an LA dog (not called that at the time) on the way out and that was fun. Sunday at Stubhub I heard no culero chants (except me when Robbie’s back was rode upon… at his insistence), but there was still the empty seats at the half line on the players sideline that were common at Rose Bowl games. End zones were always packed. Really? MLS championship, smallish stadium, and you still have empty half line seats? You go Klein, Mr. Anschutz and AEG. My expectations are just a little higher.

  3. Boring game but the last 30 seconds of Swords dumping Panedo and Swords and the short-haired blonde gal in the first row flipping each other off made the watch well worth it.

  4. Pretty poorly played game, especially in the first half. Poor touches and passes all over the place. It’s surprising both teams played so open in a cup final.

  5. Sloppy game. Kinda disappointing watch as a neutral. Besides a couple of Donovan/Keane 1-2’s there wasn’t much in the way of creative attacking soccer. Bad touches all around. Even the game winner was a simple over-the-top longball (though very well taken by Keane). Both teams and their stars seemed to really struggle with nerves and fatigue. But hey, that happens in finals sometimes. Congrats to Galaxy on the win and to the Revs for a memorable run.

    • that simple ball was so perfect it settled itself for Keane to one time it. like to see you deliver it so perfectly, such a simple ball it was 🙂

      • haha, i hear ya. Yes the delivery was excellent and I won’t pretend I could play that perfect ball on my sunday morning pickup game with old fat slow guys. unless maybe I had Keane making that run…

  6. Hats off to the Revs for exceeding expectations this season. No one expected a trip to MLS Cup in mid-season, let alone taking the Galaxy and their high-priced talent and foreign imports to overtime.
    The Kraft family have justifiably been roundly criticised in Boston for their low-cost roster, in the MLS cellar before the Jones signing. But this year team management showed a knack for overachieving with cast-offs (Davies, Bunbury, Nyugen), good draft picks (Rowe, Farrell) local talent (Caldwell, Tierney), and signing just the right player in Jones to complete the team.

    It’s also noteworthy that every starter except one (Goncalves) is an American, and they were the first to invest in a legitimate Academy program, with players on the senior roster. In retrospect, MLS is better off overall if its team spent money on develop US talent instead of signing foreign imports.

    • agreed great comment. Look at the teams that had a chance to win it. They all have one thing in common. Young Americans who were stars. The Yedlins, Zardes, Nguyens, etc.

      • Yep, he sure did blow it. Took the 2002 US team to a quarter final, a team that far outplayed Jurgen Littleman’s German-American Kickers.

        If $unil Gulati ever turned coach AND Technical Director over to Arena this country we would be developing a lot more good players than we do now.

        The dumb blonde has no insight as the Technical Director

      • Yeaaah but could anybody stand another round of Arena? Every time the camera shows him on the sideline, makes me just want to go up and slap him.

        His undoing with the NATS was his unwillingness to move past aging stars and build for the future

  7. Cheers Galaxy

    seems odd to not mention the Galaxy’s midfield tandem of Juninho and Marcelo and their impact on the game, the Galaxy engine. I love me some JJ but Juninho repeatedly stymied him and made him play quicker than he wanted to play, with help from his friends. and Marcelo did the same to Nguyen the entire game and greatly nullified what he does. Once Juninho got hurt, JJ was a mismatch for Husidic who could not handle him, JJ got loose almost immediately and dominated that OT and the Galaxy were lucky to escape; Husidic kept getting caught up high and it could have easily cost the Galaxy.

    anyway, Marcelo’s ball to Keane was not just some random ‘long ball’ lmao

    cheers fellas

  8. For a league supposed to be built in parity, having one team win 1/4 of the total titles and 3 of the last 4 doesn’t show any parity. Congrats to the Galaxy, although I feel for the Revolution. No team showed as much heart and determination throughout the playoffs, which is something that will certainly make them new fans.

    • The kind of parity we really need is payroll parity. If you google MLS Team Salaries you will find that in 2014, LA was second in the league with a total base salary of $12,291,473. The New England Revolution was dead last with a total base salary of $2,884,403. How can the league have any parity when teams #2-4 in spending are LA, NY RedBulls, Seattle Sounders. All playoff teams

      The Revs should be congratulated for getting as far as they did while spending the least to get there. There is no real glory is winning if you have to outspend all the other teams to do it

      The number one team on spending was Toronto.

      • Donovan is equal to… FC Dallas.

        Only 5 teams total spend more than LA spends on Donovan alone. Jeez.

        Even in the MLS money talks.

      • You can’t win with just 3 DPs though. The Galaxy wouldn’t be who they are without Juninho, Sarvas, Ishizaki, Rogers, etc. They deserve credit for their smart signings.

      • Happy Galaxy won. Rooted against Rev’s after Kraft swindled the Fire to get Jones. Kraft’s ethics are as moldy as his cheese.

      • Plus Zardes who was a home grown player. Also, trading for Robbie Rogers seemed like a huge mistake, but he turned out to be a valuable addition in the back. Arena has done a great job in player selection and building depth.

      • “There is no real glory is winning if you have to outspend all the other teams to do it”

        You must have a very, very hard time finding a professional sports champion worthy of “real glory”. Because unbalanced spending happens (much more wildly) in every European soccer league, and almost all domestic American sports.

        As Joamiq states, this affects a maximum of 3 players on any MLS roster. Many teams (including Toronto, as you mention) have spent oodles of money on DP’s and accomplished nothing. 3 great players guarantees you nothing. Further, you needn’t look any further than last year’s finalists (Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC) to see that it is actually very reasonable to expect small-market teams to compete for titles

        Lastly, your NE Revolution “base salary” number is very obviously wrong. You do know they signed Jermaine Jones, right?

      • I just quoted the website I found the figures on. I don’t think the full impact of JJ will hit till next year.

        My point is how can there be parity in this league if 3 of the top spending teams went beyond the first round in the playoffs. I also don’t understand how some teams seem to have no salary cap while others run a franchise on the cheap

      • Fair enough. I am guessing you are not familiar with the Designated Player Rule (or “Beckham Rule”). See Catamount’s explanation in the comments below, which is basically correct (although the cap is $3.1 million, rather than $2.1 million– presumably a typo)

      • You could also mention Houston who were regular visitors into the finals for several years while having no DP’s.Dominick Kinnear worked wonders with those teams. Good coaching still matters.

      • I think much of the inequality lies with the owners themselves. The NE Revs did not have a DP until they signed J Jones, and look. hey ge to the MLS cup. Yes the Galaxy do have the deep pocket owner to buy great players like Beckham, but two of their current DP’s are US players, Both Donovan and Gonzales were given DP slots because of the faith AEG and Bruce Arena have in developing and KEEPING great players. Even Robbie Keane was a chance taken.

        If there is inequality in the League, its having great owners and great management, on and off the field. Arena found and then signed Sarvas, Juninho, and the Galaxy developed Zardes. Arena then recycled a good US midfielder into a better full back, as well as signing two players for the back line, De La Garza and Gonzales who have been playing together at the college and pro level for almost ten years.

        If the Revs or any other team in the the MLS want to go on and become the next dynasty, they only have to look at Arena and AEG, they wrote the book and anyone can read it. Yes, they have to open their wallets, but the Galaxy has spent more on US DP’s as they have on foreign ones, something the other teams in the MLS need to notice.

      • I wish LA would try harder in the Champs league. Bruce just doesn’t seem to care about it and when Bruce doesn’t care about a game it shows.

      • Payroll parity does exist in MLS. Every team gets 2.1 million in base salary to spread amongst 24 players. If a team wants to buy a high priced player like Jermaine Jones, they must subtract 350K from the 2.1 million, leaving them with 1.85 million to pay 23 players (80K per player). That means if you buy a DP you must short change other players on the roster.

        If you buy 3 DPs like the Galaxy have done that gives you 1.1 million to spend on 21 players, only 50K per player. Essentially the Revs were beaten by a Galaxy team that could spend 37% less per player salary than the Revs for 8 starters in the MLS Cup.

        That Galaxy make up for the per player deficit they carry by investing in their academy, creating a fantastic set of facilities, spending money on top coaches, providing first class medical and training staff, taking care of the families of everyone in the organization. Gyassi Zardes still counts against the Galaxy salary cap, but they pay less for the quality he offers because of his home grown contract.

        You have payroll parity because teams with DPs are punished in average player salary. What you don’t have is infrastructure and organizational parity. In that department the Galaxy are light years ahead of the rest of the league.

        Listen to Landon’s final press conference. He mentions the Galaxy commitment to taking care of its people, as he has mentioned continuously for many years. That is where the league lacks parity.

      • Jones is a DP so the Revs salary will go up quite a lot next year. Plus Lee Nguyen should be made a DP next year (if the Revs want to keep him much longer). If that happens guess what the salary goes up again and then Revs will be higher up on that list your complaining about 🙂

      • The explanation is that the article you’ve linked was written in April. Jones joined New England at the end of summer

      • I like that teams are spending money. MLS has improved markedly since the DP rule in 2007. If you like attractive soccer, you have to allow teams to spend money. And The rules are the same across the board. LA, Seattle, NY, TFC and a couple others are just making the most of the situation. If you want to go back to MLS 1.0 when guys were making peanuts, I recommend you check out the Hyundai A-League or some other nascent, developing league.

Leave a Comment