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Monday, December 8, 2014

Sadly, The Revolution Remain Born Losers That Can't Win an MLS Cup To Save Their Lives

For the fifth time in club history, the Revolution had a chance to gain some more fans locally and positive publicity for their sport by capturing an MLS Cup but for the fifth time, they fell flat on their faces and failed. We all hoped that this year would finally be a different story but it turns out that even though many of the names had changed, New England still can't figure out how to win the only match that really matters.

Los Angeles outlasted New England 2-1 in extra time this afternoon at the StubHub Center for their MLS-record fifth title. MLS MVP Robbie Keane was also named MVP of the MLS Cup since his goal in the 111th minute was the game-winner. Conversely, Revolution MVP candidate Lee Nguyen limped off in stoppage time (of regulation) with cramps. Yup, that basically summed it up for the Revs.

American icon Landon Donovan didn't really do anything remarkable in today's contest (supposedly the last game of his illustrious career) but he still managed to become the first player in MLS with six Cup wins on his resume. It was 0-0 after a mostly dull first half that was lacking for action besides New England's Scott Caldwell clearing LA's Robbie Rogers' shot off the goal-line in the first few minutes. Thankfully, things turned up in a thrilling second half. LA got on the board first in the 52nd minute when Stefan Ishizaki's cross somehow founds its way to Gyasi Zardes in a maze of bodies. He was able to put his shot past Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

Sticking to almost the same exact script (at least this time they scored a goal), New England tied it up in the 79th minute on a goal by Wellesley native Chris Tierney. Substitute Patrick Mullins played it back to him in the box and his shot eluded Jaime Penedo who seemed to be in good position to stop it. You can't make up the fact that New England's two previous meetings with Los Angeles in the MLS Cup (2002 & 2005) both resulted in 1-0 losses in overtime. Then in 2006 they lost in penalty kicks to Houston and to cap it all off, they fell 2-1 the following year to the Dynamo as well.

I don't believe in curses but can we admit that there is no logical explanation for why the Revs lost once again in the Cup? Teal Bunbury had a chance to put New England up 2-1 late in the second half but of course his cross/pass hit the crossbar and didn't go in. Nguyen's injury forced the Revs to burn their third and final substitute at the end of the regulation. I can't say that fatigue really effected them too much in extra time (that's not why they lost) but it had to help LA to have the ability to make all three moves then.

The goal that everyone will remember from this match came via another defensive breakdown by the visitors except this one was even worse than the first. Marcelo Selvas' hopeful long ball found Keane who certainly knows what to do in the box with time and space. The Revs had many positive developments occur this season both on and off the field but I'm not the type of person that can reflect on that immediately after such a soul-crushing defeat from a team that appears to specialize in them. After a long absence, I returned to MLS this summer and I have to say I enjoyed it for what it was-a diversion while the Red Sox sucked. I will return next season and hope for another outcome but like a Cubs fan, I am building up some sort of PTSD related to this team.

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