Always the bridesmaid
Galaxy visit Cinderella Revs in MLS CupPosted: Friday October 18, 2002 12:12 PM
Updated: Friday October 18, 2002 12:58 PM
FOXBORO, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Galaxy will try to leave behind their status as Major League Soccer's frequent bridesmaids Sunday, when they face the New England Revolution in MLS Cup 2002 (1:30 p.m. ET; ABC).
Meanwhile, the Revolution will try to complete an improbable run to the title game in front of a partisan crowd at Gillette Stadium in the clash of Western and Eastern Conference champions.
The Galaxy are making a second straight MLS Cup final appearance and a record fourth in the league's seven-year history. But Los Angeles is 0-3 in the showcase event.
A year ago at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, the Galaxy squandered a one-goal lead and Dwayne DeRosario scored six minutes into sudden death, giving the San Jose Earthquakes a 2-1 victory in the title match.
It was the second time in MLS Cup history that the title game needed overtime. D.C. United won the inaugural MLS championship over the Galaxy in 1996 with a sudden-death goal by defender Eddie Pope at the old Foxboro Stadium.
In 1999, the Galaxy also fell to United in the showcase event at Foxboro, 2-0.
While Los Angeles desperately wants to avoid becoming MLS' version of the Buffalo Bills, the Revolution are looking to emulate the NFL's New England Patriots, their co-tenants at Gillette Stadium and a team also owned by Robert Kraft.
The Patriots rebounded from a poor start in 2001, went 9-2 to close the regular season and stormed to the Super Bowl title.
Apparently out of playoff contention, MLS Coach of the Year Steve Nicol installed a new defensive system and the Revolution closed the season with an 8-1-3 run to grab the Eastern Conference crown.
The Galaxy swept their semifinal series with the Colorado Rapids to reach this match. Carlos Ruiz, the playoff leader with seven goals and 16 points -- both MLS records for a single postseason -- scored twice on Oct. 5 and notched the lone goal four days later as Los Angeles recorded 4-0 and 1-0 victories.
Midfielder Cobi Jones, who played a key role off the bench for the United States at the 2002 World Cup, collected three assists in the semifinals.
Behind the strong goalkeeping of Adin Brown, the Revs recorded three shutouts in five postseason games and won the first two playoff series in club history.
Midfielder Brian Kamler has led the Revs' offense in the playoffs with two goals and two assists.
But New England hopes to have the MLS' regular-season scoring champion back for the final. Striker Taylor Twellman, who had 52 points on 23 goals and six assists, was sidelined for Game Three of the semifinal series against Columbus with a sprained right MCL.
Los Angeles and New England are no strangers to important games. The clubs met last year in the 2001 U.S. Open Cup final, a knockout competition. Danny Califf hit the winner in overtime to give the Galaxy a 2-1 triumph and their first domestic championship.
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