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MLS Cup Preview: Galaxy, Revs prepared to attack in 2014 finale

Photo by USA Today Sports


CARSON, Calif. — For the third time in four years, the LA Galaxy are set to host the MLS Cup.

The Galaxy enter 2014’s finale fresh off earning revenge against Supporters’ Shield winners Seattle Sounders, who bested the Galaxy in October to earn the regular season crown. With the league’s top regular season team in the rearview mirror, the Galaxy are now tasked with taking on the league’s hottest team: the surging New England Revolution.

Having lost in just one of their past 15 outings, the Revs have peaked at the right time, led by the midfield duo of Jermaine Jones and Lee Nugyen. However, the Revs are far from over-reliant on their pair of midfield stars, as the team’s Eastern Conference finals triumph over the New York Red Bulls was spearheaded by the goalscoring of winger Teal Bunbury and forward Charlie Davies.

The Galaxy enter Sunday fully aware of how dangerous the Revs can be. With the creativity of Nguyen and Jones balanced out by the finishing ability of those surrounding them, the Revs have plenty of goalscoring potential. Galaxy defender AJ DeLaGarza, who will make his return from injury after missing out on the second leg in Seattle, admitted Saturday that stopping Jones from asserting himself will be paramount if the Galaxy are to have any midfield success.

“He’s a hell of a competitor and he’s really good on the ball,” DeLaGarza said of Jones. “He can spray those long balls and he’s got an engine that can go all day long. We’ve just got to move the ball quick. You can’t run faster than the ball, so if we move it quickly and break them down like that, then I think we have a good chance of creating some chances.”

Those LA Galaxy chances will likely come from the three-headed monster of Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and Gyasi Zardes, who combined to score 45 goals in the regular season, more than eight MLS teams.

Despite the trio’s potential for goals, Revs head coach Jay Heaps knows that keeping too many eyes on individuals will prove costly. Rather than putting all hands on deck in an effort to stop the Galaxy’s three attacking stars, Heaps understands that it will take a team defensive effort to limit the Galaxy as a group.

“Some of the keys, and there’s no one blueprint to stop LA, but, for me, if you focus on their individuals, then someone else is going to beat you. You have to make sure that, when you’re defending, you look at Landon, Robbie Keane and Zardes, if you overcommit to them, then somebody else is going to beat you. It’s got to be defending as a group.”

With both sides boosting potent offenses, Sunday’s action has the potential of turning into an attacking display befitting of a cup final. Both sides have displayed their commitment to aggressive, attacking soccer, and neither side expects that to change ahead of the final.

“If you’re going to come here and play, you’re going to play a real game,” said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “You’re on a real field against a team that plays and you’ve got to be prepared to play. The game tends to be a little bit of an aggressive, wide-open game. Some teams aren’t up to that task.”

“It’s going to be all over the place,” added Zardes. “They’re going to attack, and we’re going to attack.”


  1. This is going to be a great match where each keeper will play well and each team is firing on all cylinders. My bet is it will come down to the “supporting players” all the “major” stars are game planned to a standstill by the opposing side.

    It would be fitting if the hero moment came from the likes of NE’s Caldwell, Tierny or Farrell or LA’s Rogers, Sarvas, or Gargan, especially considering the looming negotiations for the offseason.

    • Six Shirley Temple movies sum this one up:

      The Kid’s Last Fight

      Just Around the Corner

      Bright Eyes

      Stand Up and Cheer!

      Baby Take a Bow

      Now and Forever

      (Let’s go gals!)

      (That last statement was really just expressing my encouraging support of women, particularly the memory of Shirley Temple, whose movies more people need to watch on a daily basis. I actually don’t know who to root for in this game. I just hope it’s a good one, with at least two goals from each team.)

      • amphibian, that’s deserving of a Branford Marsalis recording title: Random Abstract.

        Torn between Donovan exiting on a high note and Revs finally grabbing title after five tries….

        As long as Panda plays well for the Sox and Pando doesn’t score, it’s all good.

  2. Tails are good – damn good. But heads know how to play like champs. Thus I’m happy to report my next coin flip will come up heads. Go heads!


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