Will LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane be as prolific next campaign?

Major League Soccer MVP and MLS Cup winner Robbie Keane had a wonderful season, capped off by scoring the winning goal in the final but he has a lot to do for the upcoming season to maintain his brilliant form.

The loss of the now-retired Landon Donovan will certainly have an impact on Keane’s performances, because as we know teams feared playing against the deadly duo but they can now pay more attention to Keane.

The 34-year-old forward will need to continue his successful partnership with the impressive Gyasi Zardes, who only netted three less than the Irishman last term.

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It will be interesting to see who the Galaxy bring in as a replacement for Donovan, with some reports suggesting Ronaldinho could be on his way to MLS.

With many players we know age is just a number, Keane will turn 35 during the next season but given his hunger and desire for the game it shouldn’t impact his performances at all.

He showed throughout last season that he still has that killer instinct in front of goal – a trait that he will never lose. With that in mind, teams will be fearing him possibly even more so in the upcoming season due to confidence being as high as ever.

We can expect Keane to be heading someway towards his 20-goal tally of this season again next term and unless any other outside factors hinder him such as injuries he should have no problem reaching his targets.

His wealth of experience will again help him no end, and the displays we saw from Keane last season were as good as when he was at his best with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.

The Galaxy will be going into the new season full of confidence and will believe they can beat anybody despite the loss of Donovan, and they’ll want to push on and continue making history with another MLS Cup title in 2015.

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The departure of Donovan could be a blessing in disguise for Keane as the Galaxy fans will be looking to him as their standalone cult hero, and we know that fans in MLS certainly get behind their players.

He is one of the most experienced players in MLS and will go down in the same category as Thierry Henry when he retires too.

We excitedly await the new campaign and are looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.

Will Robbie Keane impress again next season in MLS?

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Can Jermaine Jones help New England Revolution dominate MLS in 2015?

New England Revolution will still be licking their wounds after an agonising defeat at the hands of LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup Final, but all isn’t lost and they have plenty to look forward to in next year’s campaign.

One of their key assets in the end of season run-in was USA international Jermaine Jones who joined the Revs from Turkish side Besiktas in August 2014 and went on to make 15 appearances combining the end of the regular season and New England’s MLS Cup run.

As well as his dominant midfield performances which further allowed playmaker Lee Nguyen to express himself, he also chipped in with three goals and four assists.

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With Jones in the side, New England won 11, tied two and lost two of the 15 games in which he featured – one of those being that painful 2-1 defeat after extra-time against LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup Final.

If they can continue that kind of form when the 2015 season gets underway then they will be a serious force and you would expect them to be the team to beat.

New England Revolution’s stats and projected points total with Jones on the pitch compared to without him makes for frightening reading for other MLS teams going in to the next campaign.

JJ Stats

[*Includes points that New England Revolution would have gained from MLS playoff fixtures]

The highest points tally in an MLS season came when LA Galaxy accrued a total of 68 in the 1998 season, which they did so at a rate of 2.13 points per game.

The stats show that if New England can continue to play the way they have been, then they could potentially blow that record out of the water.

Will New England Revolution break the record for the highest points tally next year?

2014 MLS Season Review: Seattle Sounders

Western Conference Final Position: 1st

Western Conference Playoffs: Final

Review

Seattle Sounders had a really strong regular season campaign, finishing with the highest points tally across both conferences. Although they couldn’t quite make it as far as they’d have liked in the playoffs, their overall performances cannot really to be questioned. Sealing the Supporters’ Shield gives them a great building block for the new season when even more will be expected of them.

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Best Moment

Beating their closest Western Conference competitors LA Galaxy in the battle for the Supporters’ Shield. The 2-0 result shows that even though the Sounders struggled to find their way to the playoff final, they still have what it takes to win trophies, having also lifted the U.S. Open Cup.

Worst Moment

Conceding the all-important goal of the playoff tie with LA. Seattle had done enough to qualify for the final after turning around the 1-0 first leg loss and will still be ruing their inability to see that second-leg through.

Player of the Year

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Clint Dempsey – the forward had the best strike rate for the Sounders this season and showed again what he can do in the big games. His impressive tally of 16, joined by Obafemi Martins‘ 17 shows what a great partnership they have together.

Biggest Win

Seattle Sounders 4-0 Real Salt Lake (May 31 2014)

Biggest Defeat

New England Revolution 5-0 Seattle Sounders (May 11 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

There isn’t much that they need to improve for the next campaign, as they were so close to the near perfect season. They do however have to be able to shut teams out – a key example being the 4-4 draw with Portland Timbers. Having to chase games late on like this isn’t ideal for the best side across the conferences based on points total.

The only real disappointment of the season was the playoffs. With knockout football being the completely different style of game that it is, you can’t really have too many complaints with Seattle’s performance. On another day they may have been able to hold out for a place in the final, which they have to feel their season deserved.

Why didn’t it work for Charlie Davies in the MLS Cup Final?

The MLS Cup Final was a strange game for the New England Revolution, as we didn’t really see them get out of first gear too often. As a result, they lost in extra-time to the LA Galaxy for the third time in three finals between the clubs.

Charlie Davies was in fine form after good displays in the previous playoff rounds, scoring four, including that crucial brace against the New York Red Bulls.

His regular season form wasn’t much to go on (3 goals in 18 games), with Lee Nguyen the main outlet of goals for the Revs, which is why he was a surprise package in the playoffs.

As we predicted in our MLS Cup Final preview, he was a player who LA Galaxy would need to keep an eye on, but it wasn’t too difficult a task in the end. The Revs didn’t really have an outlet up top until Patrick Mullins replaced Davies, so Galaxy defenders Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez had little to worry about.

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A major factor of his poor performance has to be the low-key display in general from the Revs, but more importantly Lee Nguyen. Without Nguyen pulling the strings and having the Galaxy defence committing to him, Davies was unable to find any free space in behind.

Davies showed in the previous ties he was reacting well to half chances and thrived on the counter-attack – something else we didn’t see too much of from New England in the final.

Davies had one good chance on the break in the first-half but his lack of pace cost him as AJ DeLaGarza raced back in time to make a key tackle, and they may have unsettled the Revs forward.

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It has to be said that the Galaxy defence put in a really strong performance. Leonardo and Gonzalez led by example and did not give Davies an inch.

Anytime he was successful in a duel, the result of the hold up play ended up with the Galaxy quickly regaining possession.

The substitution of Patrick Mullins came at the perfect time for the Revs as the game was beginning to be stretched as they pushed for the equaliser. This in turn created more space in the final third, something Davies couldn’t utilise due to the game being tight before he was brought off.

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Mullins wasn’t afraid to run the channels, and that is what earned the goal for New England as the rookie then found Chris Tierney, who fired in the precious equaliser.

Despite a difficult performance, the Revs will be happy with Davies’s progression and they have protected him ahead of the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft.

We can expect to see New England challenging on all fronts next campaign and more from Davies will be expected throughout the 2015 season.

Why did Charlie Davies struggle against the LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup Final?

5 young MLS stars to watch out for in 2015

With just the MLS Cup Final to play and the 2014 season close to completion, we take a look at five MLS prospects that have lit up the league this season and look set for bright futures.

These young stars are already key players on their teams but will only improve as time goes on and they could be set for huge campaign’s in 2015.

1. Diego Fagundez – New England Revolution

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At 19 years of age, Fagundez has become one of the brightest talents in MLS over the past two seasons having made a breakthrough with the New England Revolution. He has had limited game time since the arrival of USMNT star Jermaine Jones at the franchise.

But he should be set for a great 2015 campaign, and hopefully we will see him at some point in Sunday’s MLS Cup Final.

2. Fabian Castillo – FC Dallas

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Castillo is an explosive winger who is comfortable on either wing. His exceptional dribbling skills have left defenders dazed all season and adding ten goals to Dallas’s tally has made him a great asset for the team.

At just 22, we’re expecting big things from the young man.

3. Tesho Akindele – FC Dallas

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Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year, Akindele, has been superb since breaking into the team. Blas Perez is still the first-choice forward but with eight goals in 29 appearances Akindele has showed great promise.

He and Castillo could make Dallas even more of a force in MLS next season.

4. Gyasi Zardes – LA Galaxy

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The most prolific of our five picks, Zardes has become a key player for the Galaxy this year, and has been a valued partner for MLS MVP Robbie Keane. Netting 16 goals this term has made him a huge asset for LA and he should only improve heading into next season.

Can he finish off a great year with an MLS Cup winners medal on Sunday?

5. Joao Plata – Real Salt Lake

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At 5’2 he’s the shortest player in MLS history, yet he has an abundance of talent. Plata is a compact, yet explosive forward that is comfortable on either foot. He has finally settled in MLS after his stint at Toronto FC and looks at home with Real Salt Lake.

He netted 13 goals in 28 appearances this season and is huge threat for RSL. There is more to come from the Ecuadorian.

Who do you think is the best young talent in MLS right now?

6 Bold Predictions ahead of MLS Cup 2014

With the MLS Cup Final just a couple of days away, the MLSGB team have put their bold predictions forward and we’re expecting goals!

LA Galaxy take on New England Revolution at StubHub Center in what should be a thriller as Landon Donovan has the chance to end his soccer career with another trophy.

The game kicks off at 20:00pm in the UK and can be watched live on BT Sport 1.

Our full game preview can be read here. And be sure to check out the MLSGB TV Show as the team preview the big game:

But here are the MLSGB team’s five bold predictions for the 2014 MLS Cup Final between LA Galaxy and New England Revolution.

1. Lee Nguyen will score a hat-trick – Louis East

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Lee Nguyen has been sensational this year. That’s not a secret. But he will be slightly disappointed to have not won the MVP award after netting 20 goals from midfield so far. That means Nguyen will be out to prove a point once more and he could win New England Revolution’s first ever MLS Cup title single-handedly.

2. Landon Donovan to score a penalty – Simon Pyne

Donovan will step up and do what he does best – score a penalty. The legend can handle the pressure and will have the chance to send 30,000 Galaxy fans into raptures in what should be a memorable night for the star man.

3. LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez will score an own goal – Jamie Ives

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The Galaxy are favourites to lift their fifth MLS Cup but they could make things tough for themselves by scoring at the wrong end. Omar Gonzalez is a star at the back for the Galaxy and has scored four goals in 2014 so far, but he could do the Revs a favour by putting it into his own net on Sunday.

4. New England Revolution not to have a shot on target – Ben Ashton

The Revs have been scoring for fun of late, especially away from home, netting 13 in their last five away games. But that will all change at StubHub Center on Sunday as the Galaxy will dominate and ensure the Revs don’t even register a shot on target.

5. Landon Donovan will cap off his career with a hat-trick – Lewis Addley

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All eyes will be on Landon Donovan on Sunday night. He is hoping for a night of glory in his final game as a professional. The pressure will be on but he will deliver as he did against Real Salt Lake by scoring three goals in another legendary performance.

6. Both teams to score within a minute at some point – Zack Walford

Both teams have so much to offer in attack and although it could start of cagey, the game will come to life when both teams score in 60 seconds. Donovan will score and while the stadium are celebrating, the Revs will go up the other end and stun everyone immediately.

How do you see the MLS Cup Final shaping out?

Playoff Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs New England Revolution

The Eastern Conference Final kicks off on Sunday night with New England Revolution travelling to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls in the first-leg.

The Revolution have never won at Red Bull Arena and lost twice to New York during the regular season.

But the Revs are expected to come into the game at full strength seeing as Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen came home early from the USMNT’s mini-UK tour after facing Colombia last Friday.

The Red Bulls should be much of the same with their illustrious front three of Lloyd Sam, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Thierry Henry firing on all cylinders. While Peguy Luyindula will look to continue his fine run of form in the playmaking role.

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New York have made Red Bull Arena a bit of a fortress of late, having won nine out of their last ten at home. And have won back-to-back playoff games at home too as the days of home playoff losses could be over. New England will need to perform as they have been in recent weeks to change that.

New York Red Bulls Home Form: Played 19 – Won 12 – Drawn 4 – Lost 3

However, the Revs come into the game unbeaten in their last seven. And with the emergence of Charlie Davies and his recent proficiency, they haven’t had to rely on the outstanding Lee Nguyen as much.

Don’t Miss: Stats: Thierry Henry vs Lee Nguyen – Which playmaker will make the difference on Sunday?

The MVP candidate has stayed sharp from his trip to the UK with the National team and will look to be the difference-maker once more.

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New York are the favorites here though, seeing as their home form has been superb. And they will want to lay down a marker for the second-leg while remaining tight at the back to try and ensure away goals don’t become a deciding factor.

Red Bull Arena is expected to be at full capacity as the club revealed they had sold out the stadium ahead of the first-leg this Sunday.

New England’s Away Form: Played 18 – Won 7 – Drawn 2 – Lost 9

The Revs have netted a staggering 11 goals in their last four away games and with Lee Nguyen in the form of his life, it would take a brave man to back against them getting at least one in New York.

This should be a cracker!

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – ‘MVLee’ scored 18 goals in the regular season and is integral to any MLS Cup hopes the Revs have. Classy player, always expect the unexpected.

Key Stat: New York have not lost to New England in 11 home games. The Revolution’s last win against the Red Bulls in MLS was in July 2012.

Prediction: New York Red Bulls 2 – 1 New England Revolution

The 2014 MLS Cup guarantees to make history

The team that now goes on to win the 2014 MLS Cup will be making new history in some way or another which only adds to the excitement and intensity we’re all expecting.

Seattle Sounders have had a fantastic season irrelevant of the eventual outcome of their MLS Cup campaign as they scooped the Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup double.

However, should they manage to seal MLS Cup glory, they will become the first ever team to complete the treble and thereby print their name in the record books, which would be a remarkable achievement and truly cement the fact that they have been the best team this season.

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[Seattle Sounders enjoyed success in this year’s U.S. Open Cup]

LA Galaxy narrowly missed out on the Supporters’ Shield title when they lost 2-0 to Seattle Sounders, but they can focus all their attention on trying to bring home the MLS Cup.

If they go on to win it, they will become the most successful team in the history of the competition with five titles – they are currently tied on four with DC United.

Meanwhile, both New England Revolution and the New York Red Bulls are hunting down their first ever title in this competition.

The Revs are probably the unluckiest team in MLS Cup history having been to four finals and finished on the losing end on every occasion, twice losing 1-0 after extra-time and once losing on penalties.

Title winners since 1996:

MLS HistoryWhatever happens, it promises to be entertaining and will also set new history for one of the clubs.

Who do you think will win the 2014 MLS Cup?