CARSON, California (Reuters) - Irish striker Robbie Keane grabbed an extra-time winner as LA Galaxy won a record fifth Major League Soccer title with a 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution in Sunday’s championship-deciding MLS Cup.
Keane, voted the league’s Most Valuable Player, gave the Galaxy the victory after New England’s Chris Tierney had cancelled out Gyasi Zardes’ 52nd minute opener for LA.
With the loss, the Revolution’s miserable record in title games continued as they were condemned to a fifth defeat in their fifth MLS Cup appearance.
LA have won three of the last four league titles but their latest was far from a classic display.
“We weren’t that good on the day to push us into overtime and make us have to suffer a little bit more was probably appropriate because we weren’t as good as we needed to be,” said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena.
“(But) this is the best place I have ever been in my life....this year for me has personally been so rewarding. They are just a great group of guys and I am so happy for them”.
The game marked MLS and U.S. national team all-time top scorer Landon Donovan’s final game before his retirement and he ended the game embracing Galaxy fans.
“There’s no experience like just what happened,” Donovan said.
“I can’t imagine anything that will replace that in my life going forward”.
In a scrappy encounter riddled with mistakes, Galaxy gained the advantage when Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki floated a cross to the back post to Zardes who, despite the attentions of two New England defenders, brought the ball down and found the bottom corner of the net with a low shot.
New England forced the game into extra time though when substitute Patrick Mullins picked out Chris Tierney’s run into the area and the left-back confidently drove home.
Both teams looked tired in extra time and the outcome was decided with a simple long ball down the middle from Marcelo Sarvas which Keane raced on to and completed with a characteristically calm finish.
It was more agony for Revolution coach Jay Heaps who, as a player, featured in all four of the MLS Cup defeats for the club.
“It is what it is. Now I am just going to try to get these guys back again,” said Heaps.
Editing by Gene Cherry