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After what has been a highly dramatic postseason, the MLS season will finally wrap up this Sunday with MLS Cup 2014 between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the New England Revolution. Jermaine Jones and the Revs will travel to Los Angeles to take on MLS legend Landon Donovan and the Galaxy. It's the biggest match of the MLS season, which immediately makes it a must-see event, but in case that fact alone won't convince you to check out the game, here are 5 reasons why you need to go to MLS Cup 2014.
1. It's Landon Donovan's Final MLS Game
Landon Donovan will end his storied MLS career on Sunday at home in LA. Donovan has spent 14 years in the MLS, four with the San Jose Earthquakes and 10 with the Galaxy, and he will get one more cap to add to the list. Here's just a short list of his many MLS accomplishments:
• All-Time Regular Season Goals Leader
• All-Time Regular Season Assists Leader
• All-Time Playoffs Goals Leader
• All-Time Playoffs Assists (Tied for 2nd)
• 2-Time MLS Cup MVP
• All-Time MLS Best XI Member (midfield)
• 5-Time MLS Cup Champion
And those are just a few details. Donovan has been one of the greatest ambassadors for American soccer during his career, and his commitment to the MLS was one of the biggest reasons for its growth over the past five or six years. Everything is lined up for a fairytale ending of sorts, but either way, this will be the final opportunity to see Donovan in an MLS game. Seeing the best American player of our generation, or perhaps all-time, is reason enough to head to LA.
2. LA and New England are the Hottest Teams
Often with tournament settings, teams that sneak in as wild cards can often sneak in and win championships (like in the MLB and NFL more recently). This MLS Cup is not the case. The Revolution are coming into the game as the hottest team in the league, sporting an 11-1-2 record over their last 14 games. The Galaxy are not backing into the championship match either. They are 8-2-4 over their last 14, and this sets up a meeting of two teams that are playing at their absolute best right now. That should equal fireworks.
3. Jermaine Jones
To add context to New England's hot streak, that isn't just their record over the last 14 games. It's also the record since defender/midfielder Jermaine Jones joined the squad. The German-American has provided a tangible spark for the Revolution just as he did for the US National Team during the World Cup. During his first stint in the MLS, Jones has been great for New England. He's put up three goals and six assists in just 14 games, including the playoffs, and he scored the go-ahead goal against the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals. That away goal proved to be crucial for the Revolution. Between his playmaking on offense and the great defense, Jones is just the two-way player that New England needed and is arguably the best player on the field.
4. Star Power
But that's a difficult argument, because there will be plenty of stars on the pitch this Sunday. Los Angeles is almost like its own All-Star team. In Donovan and forward Robbie Keane, LA has one of the top goal-scorers and the top assist men in the entire league. They also have two very good defenders in Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Rogers and a high quality midfielder in Junihno.
New England also has a talented roster behind Jones. Forward Lee Nguyen tallied 18 goals, good for top five in the league, and Charlie Davies has really rounded into form during New England's run. On paper LA might have the advantage, but the Revolution are a gritty team that has enough talent to open things up, especially with their athleticism on counter attacks.
5. History Will Be Made
The Galaxy are looking to become the first MLS team with five MLS Cups, something they are promoting with their #FirstToFive social media campaign. With the win, Landon Donovan would end his career with six MLS Cups, an individual record that would be hard to top.
The New England Revolution are looking for their first ever MLS Cup after taking runner-up honors four times.
No matter who wins, history will be made, and you better believe neither side will give an inch. This is going to be a phenomenal game, and if you don't get even a little pumped up when you watch this preview, then the power of soccer just hasn't gotten to you yet.
MLS Cup 2014 takes place this Sunday at 3 pm EST (12 pm on the West Coast). There are still plenty of great MLS Cup tickets available, too!
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