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Their opponent will be the New England Revolution, winners of no MLS Championships, though they are making their fifth appearance in the final.
For me it is as big as playing a Champions League Final.Jose Goncalves, Revs captain
"No, not at all," he said. "I mean they're a big club. They have great support. They have great fans and they have great players, so I don't think it's at all like that."
The Revolution was energized mid-season by the arrival of Jermaine Jones. A veteran of Germany's Bundesliga, Jones fueled the run that has brought the Revolution to the point where they can cast off the label of not-quite-good-enough. Midfielder Lee Nguyen has enjoyed his finest season, and Charlie Davies, whose career was temporarily derailed by a serious automobile accident in 2009, has come back in spectacular fashion. Perhaps this is why New England head coach Jay Heaps, who played for the Revs when they were coming up just short, claimed neither he nor anybody else is thinking about the past.
[sidebar title="Jermaine Jones And The Bizarre Rules Of MLS" width="630" align="right"]After some confusion surrounding his transfer, Jermaine Jones of the U.S. men’s national team joined the Revs in August.[/sidebar]"We're not looking at history right now. We're looking at this as one game," he said. "We want to stay focused because it's been our motto all year. And every roll of the ball matters and every play matters, so we want to stay focused on it. We'll have plenty of time to talk about what it means later.
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena is also is inclined to disregard history in general, and in particular the game on July 16, when New England was in the middle of a seven-game losing streak, and LA beat them, 5-1.
"They're probably going to have three or four different players on the field and we'll likely have three, four, five different players," he said. "That game means nothing. That's in the archives now."
This final is rife with subplots. It will be Landon Donovan's last game, and though his teammates no doubt would like to send him home a winner again, they all claim that would merely be "icing on the cake." No kidding.[sidebar title="Littlefield On Landon Donovan" width="630" align="right"] Writes Bill Littlefield: "It's refreshing to hear Donovan talk about putting his soon-to-be former profession in what he calls its 'relevant place.'"[/sidebar]
Here's Robbie Rogers: "We'd love to kind of give him that little icing on the cake."
Omar Gonzalez: "You know, that's just icing on the cake."
A.J. Delagarza: "Hopefully we let him go on a good note."
Well, I'm sure that if A.J. Delagarza had talked a little while longer, he would have said "icing on the cake."
Meanwhile the owners of the Revolution, one of the few teams still playing on artificial turf on a football field, have been making noises again about building an authentic soccer stadium. Fans hope a championship will accelerate the long overdue development. Perhaps that anticipation helps to explain the excitement New England captain and Portuguese native Jose Goncalves brings to the game he'll be treating as seriously as he'd treat the Champions League Final.
"For me it is as big as playing a Champions League Final," Goncalves said. "I respect that a lot. It's a final. It's a big game. Everyone wants to be here, you know, but there is only two teams."
Either the Galaxy or the Revolution will hoist the MLS Cup in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon.
This segment aired on December 6, 2014.
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