National TV Listing:
Three Big Storylines:
- The Drive For Five. This is a bit of two way storyline. The Galaxy are tied with DC United for the most MLS Cups with Four, while New England are tied with those same Galaxy leading the league record book with four MLS Cup losses all time. The loser of this game is going to make history with Five MLS Cup losses.
- New England have been arguably the best team in MLS since adding Jermaine Jones. Jones was added to New England over the Chicago Fire via a blind draw. New England are a very good attacking team, particularly on the counter attack lead by Lee Nguyen, Teal Bunbury and a resurgent Charlie Davies. While the Galaxy will try to keep possession, but can also hit on the counter attack or create from newly named MLS MVP Robbie Keane.
- You knew it was coming, the third and final "Three Big Storyline" in this recurring feature for 2014. This is Landon Donovan's last game. The topic has been covered. Okay, that's an understatement. How about: The topic has been covered ad nauseum. Nope, not enough. Let's go with: The topic has been covered so much that even your author, whose favorite game all time is still USA 2 Mexico 0 (pick one, mine is June 17, 2002), and who has relished taunting his Mexican born wife and in-laws with Landon Donovan exploits for 12 years is tired of the coverage. Donovan is 32, he is retiring. He said in the MLS Cup press conference "I don't want it to end". That press conference was Friday. So who knows if Donovan is going to come back. But this is most likely the last you hear about Donovan in MLS. Well, until this happens in three days during Wednesday's expansion draft: "With the 20th pick in the expansion draft NYCFC select Landon Donovan."
From a Sounders point of view. You will have to decide who to cheer for as the Sounders season is over. If the Galaxy win, RSL take the last Concacaf Champions League (CCL) spot via the next best record in the Supporter's Shield standing. If New England win then they join the Sounders, Galaxy and DC United in CCL as MLS Cup Winners.
There are ties to the Sounders in this match. James Riley still plays for the Galaxy, while Shalrie Joseph plays for New England (yes, really). In another world where the Sounders Academy started earlier, Kelyn Rowe would be a HGP for the Sounders and a card holding member of the Sounders 253 contingent as he is from Federal Way and played for Crossfire in the youth ranks before going to UCLA and being drafted by New England with the 3rd overall pick in the 2012 MLS Super Draft after his Sophomore year. Rowe will probably not start as New England seem to like Scott Caldwell in a holding position to free up Jermaine Jones to roam a bit. But Rowe will likely play at some point in the second half.
Last note, this is your last MLS Gamethread of the season. I enjoyed spending time here with all who read, contributed and lurked in the comments. Hopefully you liked the posts and I am asked to return next year for all your MLS gamethread needs. (Or maybe sooner as there could be a gamethread needed with a certain Tottenham debut.)