LA Galaxy's Landon Donovan looks to make final playoff run against Real Salt Lake

November 1, 2014

The Los Angeles Galaxy start their 2014 playoff campaign today when they travel to Utah to face Real Salt Lake.  Although the team certainly will be focused on winning the game, a secondary objective for the Galaxy will be to send retiring star Landon Donovan out in style with a sixth championship on his resume.

Donovan is simply America’s best soccer player.  Among his accomplishments are the five MLS Cup Championships that he won as a member of the Galaxy and Earthquakes; his last-second goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup; and his vital role in growing the MLS from its early days into a respectable league that is now almost twenty years old.

In addition, fans, players, and media will remember his loyalty.  Instead of having a career in one of the more prestigious soccer leagues abroad, Landon stayed in the U.S. to grow the game.  As he leaves this season, Donovan is the all-time leader in MLS goals and assists.

A couple of weeks ago, the Galaxy hosted the Seattle Sounders for their final regular season home game of 2014. The night would also be Landon Donovan’s final regular season home game as a professional soccer player.

Seattle and the Galaxy were vying for first place in the West, as both were tied on points and finished the season with two straight games against each other for the Supporters’ Shield.

From the start of the game to the end, the physicality of the match was high with Seattle earning four yellow cards and LA earning three.

As halftime neared, LA struck first when Dan Gargan's cross ricocheted to Baggio Husidic, who quickly controlled the ball and shot to the far corner from the top of the 18-yard box for a 1-0 lead.

The Galaxy would add another goal in the 50th minute when Donovan crossed the ball in from a corner-kick. The ball was deflected and Husidic again controlled it, passing to Marcelo Sarvas who then shot to the far post past Stefan Frei for the score.

LA seemingly had things under control, but in the 69th minute a deflection made its way to Seattle star Clint Dempsey who was standing alone at the far post about 6 yards away from goal. Dempsey blasted the shot into goal past Penedo, reducing Seattle's deficit to one goal.

Moments later, Seattle would stun the home crowd when a ball played up the middle found a streaking Lamar Neagle on the wing.  Neagle dribbled in and shot low and hard to the far post past Penedo to even things at 2-2.

Because the game ended in a tie, LA had to travel to Seattle last weekend and try to get a win in order to earn the Supporters’ Shield.

Playing in rainy conditions, and without stars Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, the Galaxy had a tough time in Seattle last weekend, as the Sounders took first place in the West and MLS when Marco Pappa scored two goals in the final 10 minutes of the game.

As a result, the playoff picture in the West has shaped up with #1 Seattle facing #4 FC Dallas, and #2 Los Angeles playing #3 Real Salt Lake.

The team's goal of sending Donovan off with another title before retirement, will depend on the Galaxy's ability to exhibit that same championship poise of theirs from past years.

A good place to start would be against the same rival that sent them home in the 2013 Playoffs, Real Salt Lake. These two teams have had some huge playoff encounters with RSL beating LA in the 2009 MLS Cup, LA beating RSL in the 2011 Western Conference Finals, and RSL beating LA last year in the semifinals.

With both sides ready for battle, the teams will get underway today and then play the second leg next Sunday in LA. If the Galaxy can recapture their championship poise, they will be the first MLS franchise with 5 titles, and Landon Donovan can at last ride off into the sunset with the trophy one last time.

By Brian Kowalski
Staff Reporter for

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