The LA Galaxy lost to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday night in the second leg of the Western Conference Championship, but the 2-1 scoreline was just enough for Bruce Arena‘s side to hold off Sigi Schmid‘s men, 2-2 on aggregate (1-0 on away goals tiebreaker), and advance to their third MLS Cup final in four years.
As a result, Landon Donovan‘s legendary professional career lives to see one more game, with a chance to leave the game a six-time MLS Cup champion.
Galaxy midfielder Juninho pushed the Galaxy into a 2-2 series tie, a series-controlling scoreline for them, in the 55th minute with a rocketed shot that snuck just inside the left post. A Galaxy corner came bounding out to the Brazilian midfielder who hesitated not a moment before unleashing a powerful, low strike just out of Stefan Frei‘s reach.
On the play, Donovan was credited with an assist, his record-tying 14th career MLS Cup Playoffs assist (Mauricio Cienfuegos).
The league’s all-time leading regular-season and playoff scorer nearly gave the Galaxy a huge second goal on the night and de facto two-goal series lead when he found himself racing in, one-on-one with Frei in the 56th minute, but the big Swiss keeper got down quickly and made the vital kick-save.
The Galaxy continued their search for a third series goal and came inches from finding it in the 65th minute. Stefan Ishizaki got onto a Donovan cross at the back post and headed the ball wisely back across the face of goal, back post-bound. But again, Frei was up to the challenge and made the flailing fingertip save.
Jaime Penedo‘s nightmare was mere inches from having its third chapter of the night written when the Sounders won a free kick wide left, 18 yards from the end line. Gonzalo Pineda whipped in a curling ball that was headed just over the crossbar from the top of the six-yard box. Penedo could do nothing about it had it been on target.
Donovan went inches from sealing the series in the 93rd minute when he again raced in, one-on-one with Frei before pulling his tight-angled effort just wide of the far post.
The Galaxy will host the New England Revolution at StubHub Center next Sunday (3 pm ET), aiming to become the first MLS team to lift five MLS Cup trophies.
Seattle Sounders: Frei, Yedlin, Marshall, Scott, Gonzalez, Evans, Alonso (Azira 74′), Pineda (Rose 75′), Neagle (Pappa 79′), Dempsey, Martins
Goals: Evans (26′), Dempsey (32′)
LA Galaxy: Penedo, Gargan, Gonzalez, Leonardo, Rogers, Ishizaki (Gordon 74′), Sarvas, Juninho (Husidic 87′), Donovan, Keane, Zardes
Goals: Juninho (55′)