Los Angeles Soccer: Winston Griffiths
- 1996/FOXBOROUGH, MASS.
strong>D.C. United 3, Galaxy 2 (OT)
L.A. takes a 2-0 lead into the final 10 minutes, watches it disappear, then loses to an Eddie Pope header four minutes into sudden-death overtime. In a Nor'easter. Without captain Dan Calichman, suspended for playoff yellow cards.
- 1999/FOXBOROUGH, MASS.
Bad fortune all around. Top defender Robin Fraser goes down because of a shoulder injury in the opening minutes, and goalkeeper Kevin Hartman whiffs on a back pass to gift D.C. a second goal. And that was it.
- 2001/COLUMBUS, OHIO
Mexican star Luis Hernandez provides an early lead, but Landon Donovan is a 19-year-old star for San Jose, not L.A., and his first MLS Cup strike pulls the Quakes even before halftime. Dwayne De Rosario comes off the bench to tally the overtime winner.
- 2002/FOXBOROUGH, MASS.
The third trip to Foxborough brings success, finally! Sigi Schmid delivered the first MLS Cup crown to the Galaxy in front of an event-record 61,316, with Carlos Ruiz's strike 23 minutes into overtime -- just moments after Winston Griffiths hit the crossbar from distance for New England -- starting the celebration.
- 2005/FRISCO, TEXAS
The Galaxy was the bottom seed for the playoffs, but they went on a run after stunning San Jose in the first round and conquered the Revs again. Guatemalan forward Guillermo “Pando” Ramirez -- scoring his first goal on his 62nd shot of the season, worst ratio in MLS history -- was the hero, knocking in a cleared corner kick 17 minutes into overtime.
(RSL wins on penalties, 5-4)
Injuries dogged the Galaxy, with goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and defender Omar Gonzalez forced to the sidelines in the second half, and a first-half lead through Mike Magee disappeared in the 64th minute, courtesy of Robbie Findley. Nick Rimando was the difference in the shootout, making two saves to give bottom seed RSL an unexpected title.
CARSON -- Thursday's preparation for the Galaxy's playoff opener wasn't impacted much by New York's victory Wednesday night, which gave L.A.'s first-round opponent a face, and a rather pretty one at that.
The details for their first-round battle with, it turns out, the Red Bulls have come into focus, but the Galaxy already was focused on what they need to do Sunday, no matter which of the three wild-card possibilities had fallen into their path.
They learned Wednesday night they're headed to Newark, for the game Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. (noon PT, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes), which might seem an advantage over waiting until Thursday. Had FC Dallas beaten the Red Bulls, the Galaxy would be facing Colorado, which beat Columbus in the second wild-card encounter.
Asked about this, whether it's better to know earlier whom you're going to face, L.A. coach Bruce Arena shook his head.
“For them?” he asked.
No, for you.
“I think it's probably more a plus for them than it is for us,” he said. “It gives them another recovery day. Nothing changes for us. Basically, I think it probably favors the Red Bull.”
Arena, a former Red Bulls coach, means New York gets one more day between games than Colorado would have. That's no help at all. Especially against a side Landon Donovan termed “the most talented team in the league, and they're playing better than anybody in the league is right now.”
New York is talented, no question. And the Bulls have been in better form the past month and a half, following a difficult campaign in which they won just once during one rough 4½-month stretch.
“Going in there is going to be a real challenge,” Donovan said. “I think they've done a good job of figuring out their weaknesses and addressing them. I think middle part of he year, defensively, they were all over the place, and now they seem to have done a really good job defending. They're hard to break down, they're hard to score against, and then when you have the talented players they have going forward, it makes it really difficult.”