LA Galaxy win record fifth MLS Cup; Landon Donovan goes out on top
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Landon Donovan is retiring as a champion, thanks to one brilliant goal by Robbie Keane.
Keane scored on a breakaway in the 111th minute, and Donovan won his record sixth MLS title Sunday in the LA Galaxy's 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution in the MLS Cup.
Gyasi Zardes scored in the 52nd minute as the Galaxy won their record fifth league title in the final game for Donovan, the MLS career scoring leader and most accomplished soccer player in U.S. history.
Donovan, Keane and the Galaxy have won three of the last four league championships, celebrating all three on their home field. Donovan won the sixth trophy of his 14-year MLS career, adding his fourth title with the Galaxy to a pair from early in his career with San Jose.
Coach Bruce Arena won his record fifth MLS Cup, including the last three with the Galaxy, who haven't lost at home since their season opener.
After Chris Tierney scored the tying goal in the 79th minute for New England, both teams had golden opportunities in extra time before Keane capped his MVP season with the dynamic winner in the second period of extra time. Marcelo Sarvas lobbed a long pass to the Irish striker, who was nearly unmarked. He gathered it and beat Bobby Shuttleworth with the same poise he showed throughout his 19-goal regular season, celebrating with his usual cartwheel, finger guns and a hug for Donovan.
The 32-year-old Donovan announced his retirement in August. The Southern California native still followed the lead of former teammate David Beckham by winning the MLS Cup in his final game.
After Keane and Donovan hugged at midfield for the final time in their vaunted partnership, the Galaxy raised their latest trophy at midfield under a shower of fireworks and confetti. Donovan took a slow tour of the StubHub Center field, a Galaxy scarf draped around his neck, waving at a sellout crowd loudly chanting "One more year!"
Despite an outstanding second half and several extra-time chances, New England lost the MLS Cup for the fifth time — including three times to the Galaxy on extra-time goals. Keane followed in the footsteps of Carlos Ruiz, who beat the Revs in 2002, and Guillermo Ramirez, who did it in 2005.
After a scoreless first half, Zardes got the first goal since Sept. 28 for the 23-year-old native of nearby Hawthorne, California. He erased his late-season slump when he settled a cross from Stefan Ishizaki in the box and slotted it past Shuttleworth. But after the Galaxy missed numerous chances to add to their lead, New England pressed for an equalizer.
Substitute Patrick Mullins got past Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez on a frantic run before chipping back to Tierney, who beat Jaime Penedo for his second playoff goal. After Tierney's equalizer drained the energy from the Galaxy and their crowd, Teal Bunbury pinged a chip shot off Penedo's crossbar in the 85th minute. Penedo made a difficult stop on a shot by Mullins in the first extra-time period.
Donovan got a free kick early in the second period just atop the penalty area, but sailed it over the bar.
New England pressed after Keane's goal, but Penedo made another save on Mullins before the final whistle.
The Galaxy reached the final by knocking off Supporters' Shield-winning Seattle in the Western Conference finals on the strength of a single away goal. New England had lost just once in its previous 16 games, its tremendous late-season surge with newcomer Jermaine Jones capped by a victory over New York Red Bulls in the East final, ending the MLS career of Thierry Henry.
Re-live the events of MLS Cup 2014 with Liviu Bird's live blog below.