Worst to first
Golden goal lifts Quakes over Galaxy 2-1 in MLS Cup
Updated: Sunday October 21, 2001 10:05 PM
ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- A sudden-death overtime goal by forward Dwayne DeRosario gave the San Jose Earthquakes their first Major League Soccer championship in a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday at Columbus Crew Stadium in Ohio.
The victory completed a worst-to-first turnaround for San Jose under new coach Frank Yallop. Last season, the Earthquakes were 7-17-8. This season, they went 13-7-6, finishing second to Los Angeles in the Western Division.
"From Day One we talked about this being our year," Yallop said. "We just had to get guys to believe it."
DeRosario believed -- in part because Yallop believed in him.
"Coming from the A-League, I would like to thank Frank for giving me the opportunity," he said.
The Galaxy had lost in two previous championship games, in 1996 and 1999. It was San Jose's first MLS Cup match.
"Everybody loves to beat Los Angeles. It's the national pastime in every sport," Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said. "This one hurts more than 1999 because we've had a lot of obstacles that we went through behind the scenes that nobody knows about.
The victory marked the first time the Earthquakes had come from behind all season, having previously gone 0-8-2 in matches in which they allowed the first goal (including the postseason).
The winning goal came in the sixth minute of overtime. With neither team over-committing in attack due to the high stakes, the winner came off an individual effort from the Canadian international and first-year MLS player.
DeRosario, who entered the match for forward Ronald Cerritos with five minutes remaining in regulation, controlled the ball at the left corner of the Galaxy box. DeRosario sidestepped defender Danny Califf and -- moving toward the center of the box -- curled a right-footed shot that beat Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, hit the far right post and bounced in.
"In a cup final, you have to be mentally ready above everything," said DeRosario. "He thought I was going near post, so I pulled it back over and saw an opening and decided to take it."
The game got off to a nervous start, with the Earthquakes owning the better of the possession. Yallop's team was able to penetrate on the flanks and send crosses into the Galaxy penalty area, forcing the rest of the Los Angeles defense to scramble for clearances.
But on a quick transition in the 21st minute, a 40-yard long ball by Galaxy defender Greg Vanney bypassed a flat San Jose defense. L.A. forward Luis Hernandez read the pass perfectly, latching onto it just inside the penalty area. The Mexican international beat Jeff Agoos to the ball and sent a right-footed shot past San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
The Earthquakes struck back two minutes before halftime. In the 43rd minute, a combination between Richard Mulrooney and Ian Russell down the right flank resulted in Russell's cross from the end line. The cross got by four players in the box. Forward Landon Donovan was quickest to react on the loose ball, blasting a first-time, right-footed shot into the top right corner of the net.
Donovan's fifth postseason goal made him the league's leading scorer in the 2001 playoffs.
"I was very lucky to be able to be here today," said Donovan, a 19-year-old native Californian who returned from Germany to play in MLS. "There's not too many words to explain how excited I feel about all of this."
After an evenly played first half, San Jose dominated the second half, outshooting Los Angeles 12-3.
The Earthquakes had four chances to score in the first 10 minutes of the second half, including off a bending free kick by U.S. national team star Agoos from just outside the penalty area in the 49th minute. But his shot hit the post.
Agoos had won three previous championships with D.C. United.
"This one feels much better," defender Jeff Agoos said of his fourth ring. "We did this with guys who no one had never heard of. This is so sweet and it's all to Frank [Yallop's] credit."
Yallop, in turn, credits acquiring Agoos and Donovan for his team's success.
"He is probably the most consistent American player," Yallop said of Agoos, the league's defender of the year. "I felt our defense has been dominant all year and we didn't get challenged that much today."
The Earthquakes were without Manny Lagos (right hamstring), who scored three goals and had two assists in five playoff games.
It was the second time in MLS Cup history that the title game needed an overtime session to decide the winner. D.C. United won the inaugural championship in 1996 with a sudden-death goal from defender Eddie Pope at Foxboro Stadium.
The Earthquakes had defeated the Galaxy twice during the regular season, although Los Angeles won the Western Division by a two-point margin. The teams' final two head-to-head matches of the season were cancelled due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The season does not end for the Galaxy, however, as they go on to face the New England Revolution in the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif., on Oct. 26.
NOTES: Sunday marked Los Angeles defender Paul Caligiuri's final professional match. He is retiring after a long career that saw him play for seven years in Germany, enjoy a long presence on the national team and conclude with a moderately successful stint in MLS, including stints with the Galaxy and Columbus Crew. Caligiuri will take over the men's and women's coaching reins at Cal Poly-Pomona. ... Parking around Crew stadium was a chore for many fans as the normal parking lot area was taken up by the American Quarterhorse show and was filled with horse trailers. ... Hot rumor of the Cup: There is talk of Chicago possibly relocating to Milwaukee, St. Louis or perhaps even Minnesota as stadium negotiations have broken down. Losing the team in Chicago would be a major blow for MLS, as it enjoys some of the best support in the league.
LA --Hernandez (Vanney, Hartman) 21
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES--Joe Cannon, Jimmy Conrad, Troy Dayak, Jeff Agoos, Wade Barrett, Ian Russell (Zak Ibsen 82), Richard Mulrooney, Ronnie Ekelund, Ramiro Corrales, Ronald Cerritos (Dwayne DeRosario 85), Landon Donovan
LOS ANGELES GALAXY--Kevin Hartman, Ezra Hendrickson, Danny Califf, Greg Vanney, Paul Caligiuri (Adam Frye 53), Simon Elliott, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Peter Vagenas, Sasha Victorine (Brian Mullan 75), Luis Hernandez, Cobi Jones
Referee: Kevin Stott; Assistant Referees: Roger Itaya, Daniel Wilson
Los Angeles Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid on the outcome of the match:
"Everybody loves to beat Los Angeles. It's the national pastime in every sport. That's just something we have to live with. This one hurts. Overtime always hurts even more and it also hurts more so because although we struggled for a good part of the game, I thought that in the last 20 minutes of regulation and through to overtime, I thought we had started to get a hold of things and we were playing our best soccer. But that's how things go."
Schmid on the emotions of his team:
"There's not really much you can say right now. Everyone is going through their own individual things. There are tears being shed and there are guys who swallowed a little bit more while others just want to get out of there. It's a really empty feeling."
Schmid on whether injuries played a part in the result:
"I don't think fitness was a factor. Ezra [Hendrickson] wasn't as sharp as he would normally be and Sasha [Victorine] we had to pull out a little bit earlier than we would have thought we would. We've dealt with that all year. Obviously you'd like to have a week [ahead of the game] but it was the same for both teams."
Schmid on what the Earthquakes did to foil the Galaxy:
"They do a good job of covering and sliding for each other in the back. When they do that, you have to be able to get it out of there and switch it over to the other side. We didn't do that often enough. We also gave them a little too much of the game in the back. We knew it'd be 2-v-2 in the back for us, but we gave [Troy] Dayak and [Jimmy] Conrad and some of those players too much time on the ball. I think had we applied more pressure we would have created more turnovers and caught them more in transition which would have opened up Cobi a little more. And every time Cobi had the ball they double-teamed him."
Schmid on getting motivated for Saturday's U.S. Open Cup final:
"It's going to be difficult but it's something we have to do. That's why they're professional athletes. It's their job. They have to put this one away and if anything, this has to serve as motivation for the next away. We don't want to walk away from this season empty-handed. We'll be even more motivated for the Open Cup than we might have been." Schmid on the Galaxy and winning big games:
Schmid on the Galaxy winning the big game:
"It's been a theme for us all the time that we want to be the team that wins big games and today we didn't do it. I think the character of the guys has improved. We've won a lot of big games this year and this was the first one that we lost. We've stepped up when we had to. Today it just didn't go that way."
Schmid on substituting Paul Caligiuri in his last MLS match:
"Paul logged a lot of minutes. [Ian] Russell was a little fresher. So we decided to come with a fresher guy there and they came with Zak Ibsen later. He's done super for us this whole time but the minutes sometime catch up with you."
Schmid on what he saw on the game-winning goal:
"The initial ball looked like a harmless ball played into the corner and we just didn't get back in time. When [Dwayne] DeRosario comes inside like that, there has to be cover and sliding from [Greg] Vanney and from [Adam] Frye and maybe from a midfielder. But that didn't happen. [Danny] Califf felt he tipped the shot and sent it a little bit wider. Kevin Hartman [goalkeeper] got a decent hand on it but he just hit a good goal. You can always point back on where it broke down and that probably happened on our sliding over."
Schmid on Landon Donovan's first-half goal:
"It was a good goal. They put a lot of pressure on us in the first half and got a lot of good wing play with a lot of crosses. As the ball got dummied on through, that left him [Donovan] wide open and he finished it well."
Schmid on whether this MLS Cup loss is his most painful:
"For me personally, this one hurts more than 1999 just because I think we had made some improvements in what we were trying to accomplish. We overcame obstacles which if I ever write a soccer book someday, people will understand those obstacles we went through this year behind the scenes that no one knows about. For us to have fought through all that and continued our path to getting to the final and in the end losing hurts a lot more for me. It will take me a day or two to get over it but like a lot of players in that locker room the goal has to be the U.S. Open Cup and then to get our rear ends back here next year and make it happen."
Galaxy defender Paul Calgiuri on the outcome of the game:
"It was a well-played game from both sides. I feel that San Jose had better chances than the Galaxy did and that typifies the matches we've been playing all year. They [San Jose] have our number and they beat us twice in the regular season. We had to beat them in penalty kicks in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals and we knew it was going to be a tough game. It could have gone either way."
Caligiuri on the emotions after the final:
"For every success story, there's sorrow and pain on the other end. As much as I would have liked to go out with a championship, especially with this being the third trip to the final for the Galaxy, there was a great story on the other end with the Earthquakes going from last place to first place and the great successes of players like Landon Donovan. There are a lot of positive things to look at than only myself. The bigger picture is the development of the game of soccer and the direction of soccer. I feel that we're all privileged today to see a great game and final for MLS Cup 2001."
Caligiuri on getting motivated for the U.S. Open Cup final:
"We do have another game to play a week from now and it's important to us. This hurts and our locker room is very quiet but all this will sink in when my career is officially over."
Caligiuri on getting over his second loss in an MLS Cup final:
"To get over a loss at the MLS Cup final is going to be very difficult. We're going to have to dig down deep to motivate ourselves for the final. Fortunately we do have that to look forward to at this stage."
Caligiuri on the factor Donovan played on the Earthquakes:
"Landon makes a difference for the San Jose Earthquakes. With Donovan coming back to the United States and deciding to play in MLS, that has been a great attribute to this league. The other day I saw him wear No. 20, a number I once wore with the U.S. National Team. It couldn't go to a better person than him. That really typifies our growth in soccer. There are many more young players' dreams that can be like Landon Donovan's some day."
San Jose forward Landon Donovan on getting the chance to win MLS Cup in his first season:
"MLS gives a lot of chances to younger players and a lot of other leagues in the country and in the world don't. It goes to prove that you can give people the chance no matter what age, and I'm glad I helped show it."
San Jose forward Dwayne DeRosario on scoring as a substitute:
"Coming off the bench my teammates knew I would give 100 percent. It helps to have the belief of your teammates to boost your confidence. It's a great feeling."
DeRosario on the goal he scored:
"We had a great feeling that we were going to win. That moment [the goal] was a blur. My main objective was to get the ball in the net and I did that ... That was a great pass by Ronnie Ekelund [Quakes midfielder]. It was a beautiful pass. He made my job a lot easier."
DeRosario on what Frank Yallop said to him before sending him on:
"Before I went into the game, Frank said to me to go out there and win it. I had the one-on-one situation and I decided to take it."
DeRosario on the support San Jose received from the Chicago Fire fans in the stadium:
"It's great to have that support away from home. It makes us feel comfortable. I'd like to thank all the Chicago fans for their support."
Donovan on the support from the Chicago Fire fans:
"Obviously the Chicago Fire fans didn't want Los Angeles to win. But it's always better to say that the champion beat you - at least that's how I feel. Columbus is a great stadium, the crowd is awesome and I'm glad we had them on our side today."
San Jose Head Coach Frank Yallop on DeRosario's role on his team:
"I feel Dwayne is an impact player and needs to get on the field. It was fitting for him to get the winning goal. Every minute he plays, whether it is a whole game or 10 minutes, he's making an impact on the game."
Yallop on his emotions:
"It's hard to put into words what I'm feeling to be honest. We talked about it all year: why can't we win it? Why not us? Right now there is nothing I can say to describe the feeling."
Yallop on the role of Jeff Agoos on the Earthquakes:
"You can't put into words what Jeff Agoos brings to this team. He's probably the most consistent American player, without a doubt. I felt our defense has been dominant all year and we didn't really get challenged that much today."
Donovan on the goal he scored:
"Ian [Russell] and Richard [Mulrooney] had a combination down in the corner. I wasn't expecting the ball to get across. But I decided to get into the box and Ronald [Cerritos] was very clever to let it through. It took a glorious bounce and when I hit it, I just knew."
Donovan on the 2001 San Jose Earthquakes:
"There's a reason why Jeff Agoos has four championship rings. He knows how to win. We have people on the bench like Dwayne [DeRosario] who would be playing on most teams in the world and is sitting on our bench during the playoffs. But we've had great depth, great coaching and great management this year. Everything has turned around for us and I hope we'll be here again next year."
Donovan on Paul Caligiuri's retirement:
"Without Caligiuri a lot of us, especially my generation, wouldn't be here."
DeRosario on his first season in MLS:
"Coming from the A-League, I'd like to thank Frank [Yallop] for giving me the opportunity. With teammates like Jeff Agoos and Troy Dayak telling you that you're good at what you do helps you keep your focus."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.