CARSON, Calif. — Defeating the New England Revolution 2-1 in the MLS Cup on Sunday, the LA Galaxy is the first team in Major League Soccer history to capture five league titles.
Robbie Keane scored the game-winning goal in extra time, while Chris Tierney leveled the score in the 79th minute after Gyasi Zardes’ 52nd-minute conversion.
The Galaxy opened the match with a quick chance in the 2nd minute, when Robbie Rogers found space on the left wing and successfully cut inside the box to get a shot on goal, only to see defender AJ Soares clear away the bouncing ball at the last second.
Around the 21st-minute mark, league MVP Robbie Keane gathered the loose ball at the top of the box. After taking a short touch, he fired a seething attempt that, fortunately for the Revs, met goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth directly in the chest.
One minute later, Zardes and Donovan executed tight combination play near the left post, but New England’s back line managed to shut down the attack before any danger altered the scoreline.
In the 32nd minute, Keane had the ball at his feet in favorable spot, but his long-range effort eluded the crossbar.
Then, eight minutes passed and Landon Donovan spearheaded one of the Galaxy’s best occasions of the half, when the USMNT legend fed an accurate through ball to a wide-open Zardes, whose strike dashed wide of the iron.
New England dominated possession toward the end of the half, and overall, Jay Heaps’ squad enjoyed that statistical advantage. Lee Nguyen, Charlie Davies and Jermaine Jones weren’t able to muster legitimate opportunities on frame, though.
The first 45 minutes of the Cup ultimately marked a defensive struggle between the two talented sides, with both teams totaling one shot on target each.
Five minutes gone in the second half, Kelyn Rowe pounced on an LA turnover to spur the break, but Nguyen, corralling the ball in the box, inched forward and collapsed on contact.
The referee didn’t call a penalty during that sequence, and two minutes later (52nd minute), Zardes buried a left-footer in the five-yard box to give his crew the 1-0 lead.
[WATCH: Zardes for the 1-0 lead]
In the 69th minute on a counterattack, Keane busted into the middle of the pitch, 1-on-1 with 2013 MLS Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves. The Ireland international made a crafty move to dart past the Revs’ defender, but couldn’t beat Shuttleworth, who sprinted off his line for the deflection.
Right when you thought the Revolution were out of it, Goncalves hit a well-weighted lobbed pass to substitute forward Patrick Mullins, and, hustling forward, the rookie assisted Tierney for the close-range finish.
[WATCH: Tierney ties it]
The remainder of 90 minutes, except a bizarre chip that hit the crossbar from Teal Bunbury, fizzled out. And the 1-1 score couldn’t name the champion, so extra time commenced.
The pace of the game slowed at this point, and the opening fifteen minutes showed fatigue from both groups. However, the Revolution stayed in the attacking end, and the Galaxy were barely able to advance up the pitch.
The next fifteen minutes of extra time had Landon Donovan miss a dangerous free kick, and in the 11th minute, Keane, positioned similarly to LA’s first score, banged home the winner.
[WATCH: Keane’s winner]
New England pushed hard and desperately threw men forward. Cross after cross, nothing in the scoring department materialized for the Eastern Conference champs.
Time expired. Fireworks blasted, and the StubHub Center erupted. The LA Galaxy stormed the field, ready to celebrate their return to the top.