New England Soccer Today

Predictions: #LAvNE

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

Will the third time against the Galaxy in the MLS Cup final prove to be the charm for the Revolution? We asked our writers to give their predictions on Sunday’s championship showdown at the StubHub Center.

Julian Cardillo: The Galaxy may have the home field advantage, more players in the “Best XI,” and better performing offense, but the Revolution far and away have the better midfield. I predict the Revolution edge the Galaxy 3-2, with a goal from a set piece and the run of play. Donovan and Keane net for Galaxy. The Revs midfield manages to keep from getting clogged up, transitioning well to offense while also helping out on defense. This game will be end to end–when it’s over it will be judged as one of the most entertaining Cup finals in history.

Prediction: New England 3, LA Galaxy 2

 

Baxter Colburn: The New England Revolution own the title, Underdog, especially after the 2014 MLS regular season. Once New England found their feet after their terrible slump, no team could raise a finger to them. Behind their MLS BEST XI and MVP candidate, Lee Nguyen, the Revolution find themselves in prime spot to pull an upset against the heavily favored LA Galaxy.

Even with the Revolution losing the only game the two teams played this season, New England fans still have a lot to look forward to. Both New England and LA have dangerous midfields. LA has experience, while New England has talent and youth.

Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury will play a large role in the Revolutions success during the match. LA will focus most of their attention on shutting down Jermaine Jones and Nguyen through the midfield. If the Galaxy fall asleep for a minute, this Revolution squad can punish them in a heartbeat.

LA is the obvious favorite in this match, but New England has the talent to force an incredible upset and finally claim their first MLS Cup title.

Prediction: New England 2, LA Galaxy 1

 

Sean Donahue: The Galaxy have been incredible at home this year with just one loss (12-1-4) and a perfect record at the StubHub Center against Eastern Conference teams (5-0-0). They have the greatest American soccer player of all time in Landon Donovan looking to end his career with a Championship. They’ve got a coach and a team both looking for their fifth MLS Cup titles against a coach who had never won a playoff series (as a coach) before this year and a team that has lost all four MLS Cup appearances it has made. They’ve won two of the last three cups. They beat the Revolution 5-1 at home already this year (albeit in a game that can easily be discounted due not just to it being pre-Jermaine Jones, but due to the complete lack of a defensive midfielder with both Scott Caldwell and Andy Dorman out of the line-up, plus both teams playing much of the match with ten men).

Just about everything points to the Galaxy, and yet, I’m predicting a Revolution win. Why? Two reasons: First, the Revolution, as Donovan recently pointed out, have been the hottest team in MLS over the last three-plus months. The team has lost just once since August 2nd. Second, and more importantly, New England thrives on the counter-attack—and despite what their earlier result might suggest—are set up perfectly to counter the Galaxy’s high possession style. New England will be content to allow the Galaxy to hold possession and hit on the break and as they proven time and time again down the stretch, when the opportunities arrive, they’ll make the most of them.

Prediction: New England 2, LA Galaxy 1

 

Greg Johnstone: The LA Galaxy played five games at home against Eastern Conference teams this season. Not only did they win all five, but they won by 3+ goals in each (including the 5-1 dismantling of the Revs in July) and outscored their opponents 20-3. While the Revs are certainly better this time travelling to the StubHub Center with the addition of Jermaine Jones, the same New York Red Bulls that gave the Revolution a tough battle in the Eastern Confernece Finals were dismissed 4-0 in LA in late September. I have no doubt the Revolution will fare better than these one-sided affairs, but it will be a hard task for the Revolution to shut down so many offensive weapons on the road. After going into halftime with a 1-1 tie, the Galaxy score a quick goal in the second half and then Donovan has the honors of putting away the insurance goal with time ticking down in the 87th minute to win by a final of 3-1. Although I’d love to see an amazing ending to a great season for the Revolution, I’m predicting an amazing end to Landon Donavon’s great career.

Prediction: LA Galaxy 3, New England 1

 

Jason Kates: If there is one thing the Revs would love to do more than anything on Sunday, it would be to spoil the last game of Landon Donovan’s career. With Donovan and MLS MVP Robbie Keane playing up top for the Galaxy, captain Jose Goncalves will have to keep the defense in check and keep these two off the score sheet. For New England offensively, it will be interesting to see if Lee Nguyen will be able to rise to the occasion and find the back of the net.

In their lone regular season meeting, LA routed the Revs 5-1 at StubHub Center back in July, which is where the game will be held this weekend. Despite this result, it is now the playoffs, where anything can happen. Unfortunately for the Revs, the career for Landon Donovan will culminate with a victory and an MLS Cup. Look for the home crowd to be a factor, with the Galaxy fans urging their team to get one last W for Mr. Donovan.

Prediction: LA Galaxy 2, New England 1.

 

Brian O’Connell: There’s no sense in debating who has the better offense, because the 69 goals scored by the Galaxy is a testament to their attacking talent, which is head and shoulders above the rest. But their defense? Overrated. And the Revolution will exploit that. How? By stretching the field. We saw it last week against the Red Bulls, which, by the way, was the perfect opponent for the Revolution to face ahead of Sunday’s match against the Galaxy. The local XI learned plenty about its offense in the second leg of the Conference Final, namely, that Chris Tierney’s crosses had a devastating effect when he was pushed up to the midfield. We saw that all Charlie Davies needs is good service to score. That Jermaine Jones, though he came up empty handed, still wasn’t afraid to launch a couple of lasers. This will be a fast, wide-open match that will hinge on how well the Revolution offense will take advantage of a Galaxy backline that put in a laughable first half performance against the Sounders last Sunday.

Prediction: New England 3, LA Galaxy 2 (ET)

 

Rick Sewall: Even though the Galaxy are a strong and well-coached team, and they have one sure advantage in that the game will be played at the StubHub Center, the Revs have five positives to counteract that one:

1) The Revs are the hotter team.

2) The Revs are further motivated by never having won the MLS Cup, even though they are MLS originals.

3) They are also hungry to redeem themselves for their poor performance last July vs. the Galaxy.

4) The Revs’ sextet of Shuttleworth, Goncalves, Jones, Nguyen, Tierney, and Davies is at least as good as that of the Galaxy’s Penedo, Gonzales, Donovan, Keane, Juninho, and Zardes.

5) Jay Heaps has come a long way as a coach. He has done a masterful job bringing Charlie Davies on; he’s negotiated the arrival of Jermaine Jones smoothly; and he’s managed a variety of shifts in the starting lineup without loss of team morale. In fact, he’s set a smooth-running machine in motion, and whether he’s guiding them to play well together or just setting them free to do so, it’s working. Another almost unmentioned, yet significant, fact about Saturday’s game was that the Revs got no yellow cards – an indication that they were totally focused on winning. This is a reflection of a very positive Rev mindset, and Heaps’s coaching has a lot to do with it.

Overall, it appears that the Revs are currently the team of destiny.

Prediction: New England 2, LA Galaxy 1

3 Comments

  1. Mattie

    December 5, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Great predictions guys, I am thinking 2 NE – 1 LA in extra time. If they go to penalties who do you think would take them? I think the last time we saw them (in MLS play at least) was before any of the current players time.

    • Sean Donahue

      December 5, 2014 at 11:04 am

      My guess would be: Nguyen, Davies, Jones, Tierney and then a bit harder to guess the 5th. Perhaps Bunbury, but wouldn’t be surprised if it was Goncalves or Rowe. Of course subs could change things.

  2. Brian O'Connell

    December 5, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Definitely Nguyen first, from there, I’d call it Jones, Tierney, Goncalves and Bunbury. Would love to see Davies take one, but not sure if he has 120 minutes in him. Then again, there is no game next week, so who knows?

Leave a Reply to Brian O'Connell Cancel reply