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?

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Erick Torres to join LA Galaxy as Landon Donovan’s replacement – report

Erick “Cubo” Torres will only stay in Major League Soccer if he can join up with the LA Galaxy in time for the 2015 season. That’s according to Eric Gomez, the chief editor of Fox Deportes, and the prolific Mexican striker would likely be Landon Donovan’s replacement if a transfer were to happen.

Torres was sensational for Chivas USA this season, scoring 15 times in 29 appearances but has been training with parent club CD Guadalajara since Chivas USA were disbanded at the end of the 2014 regular season.

The league has been trying to negotiate a deal with Torres, and Don Garber confirmed that he wants to keep the striker in MLS in his speech earlier this week.

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However, Torres reportedly only has his eyes set on one club, the LA Galaxy, and he wants to ensure that he remains in Los Angeles if he is to be scoring goals in Major League Soccer next season.

Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes have been excellent up front for the Galaxy this season, while Landon Donovan has mainly played out on the left.

If Torres were to join up with LA, the team would need to reshape its formation to fit all three goalscorers in. MVP winner Keane could play behind the two strikers in a 4-3-1-2 formation, though that would limit the Galaxy’s width.

It remains to be seen whether or not “Cubo” Torres will be returning to MLS for next season, but defences across the league will already be fearing the prospect of facing Torres, Keane and Zardes at once.

Would Erick Torres be a good signing for the LA Galaxy?

MLS Cup Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs New England Revolution

MLSGB TV Show: MLS Cup Preview

This is it. The finale. 19 clubs started the 2014 season back in March, all fighting for a place in this season’s MLS Cup final. LA Galaxy and New England Revolution will battle it out at StubHub Center for the chance to be crowned champions.

The Galaxy are fighting for a record fifth MLS Cup title and victory in this one would spell the perfect end to Landon Donovan‘s illustrious MLS career in his final game before retirement.

New England are appearing in their first title game since 2007 and will be looking to be crowned champions on the fifth time of asking.

Both sides have stars that could prove to be the difference on Sunday night. The Revs will be looking to Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones once more and will hope to win the midfield battle with those two in fine form.

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Robbie Keane and Donovan will once again look to provide the cutting edge for the Galaxy, while Gyasi Zardes must also be mentioned having scored twice in a 5-1 win against the Revs at home earlier in the season.

LA Galaxy’s 2014 home form: Played 19 – Won 14 – Drawn 4 – Lost 1

The Galaxy have not lost at StubHub Center since the opening day of the regular season back in March (a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake) and are favourites heading into this one.

Though the Revs have been in incredible form. They are unbeaten in nine and have won their last three away from home.

New England Revolution’s 2014 away form: Played 19 – Won 8 – Drawn 2 – Lost 9

Jermaine Jones has proved to be a masterstroke of a signing and the Revs have only lost once since he joined the club back in August.

With so many attacking threats on the pitch this has the potential to be an absolute cracker. Though the fact that the title is on the line could see both sides approach this more cautiously, and counter-attacking tactics could be deployed by both.

East meets west as the 2014 MLS Conference Champions are set to go at it for the 19th MLS Cup. Landon Donovan will say goodbye to soccer on Sunday and it should be a night to remember for soccer fans worldwide.

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Key player: Landon Donovan: The man everyone will be watching. Donovan will be looking to mark his final game in soccer by lifting his sixth MLS Cup trophy.

Key stat: Round three: This is the third time these two sides have met in the MLS Cup final. LA Galaxy won both of the previous games 1-0 after extra-time.

LA Galaxy’s last five: L/D/W/W/L

New England Revolution’s last five: W/W/W/W/D

Prediction: LA Galaxy 1-1 New England Revolution* – The Revs to clinch this one on penalties after an exciting 120 minutes.

Stats: Donovan & Keane vs Martins & Dempsey – Who will come out on top?

The first-leg of the Western Conference Final gets underway on Sunday night as Seattle Sounders travel to LA Galaxy in what promises to be a thrilling encounter.

The two sides met twice at the end of the regular in a dramatic climax to for the MLS Supporters’ Shield, with Seattle coming out on top, but a place in the MLS Cup is at stake this time.

Robbie Keane‘s absence may have cost the Galaxy the Supporters Shield but he will be in the team when LA welcome Seattle this weekend, and will hope his lethal partnership with Landon Donovan can once again lead their side to victory.

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The pair have scored 33 goals between them this season – accounting for 45% of the Galaxy’s goals in the regular season and playoffs. They will look to carry the form from the 5-0 thrashing of Real Salt Lake in the last round into this game.

Donovan scored a hat-trick in another memorable performance and his hopes of lifting a sixth MLS Cup before retirement are still alive.

Don’t Miss: Playoff Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders

Seattle have just as dangerous a partnership themselves in Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. The dynamic duo have scored 32 of the club’s 66 goals in the regular season and playoffs – accounting for 49%.

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The Sounders are hoping to become the first MLS side to win the treble by lifting the MLS Cup, following their successes in the US Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield in 2014.

Dempsey and Martins are integral to that and need to make sure they give Seattle something to take away from Los Angeles in the first-leg.

Donovan and Keane vs Dempsey and Martins Stats

Stats: Donovan & Keane Vs Dempsey & Martins – including playoffs. Statistics via Squawka.

The table above shows that Donovan and Keane are more of a threat together as the pair contributed to more goals and created more chances than the Seattle duo.

But Dempsey and Martins have recorded more shots and aren’t too far off the Galaxy pair.

It should be another intriguing battle between the sides, and one that will hopefully live long in the memory as an MLS Playoffs classic.

Landon Donovan could yet again be playing in his final home game in MLS, but Galaxy fans will hope by Keane playing against the Sounders this time as well that they will have enough to win the first-leg.

Who will come out on top on Sunday – Donovan & Keane or Dempsey & Martins?

 

Playoff Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders

The first-leg of the Western Conference final is set to be an enthralling tie as the Seattle Sounders travel to take on LA Galaxy in their latest clash.

The two sides who went head-to-head for the MLS Supporters’ Shield during the last two weeks of the regular season are set to lock horns again, with a place in this season’s MLS Cup Final at stake.

We can expect a cagey opening in the first-leg between these two sides, with neither wanting to give any advantage ahead of the return fixture.

LA Galaxy home form: Played 18 – Won 13 – Drawn 4 – Lost 1

The game will also see two of the highest scorers from the regular season go head-to-head again in the shape of Obafemi Martins and Robbie Keane. With star strikers to aim at, both sides will fancy their chances.

Don’t Miss: Stats: Keane & Donovan vs Dempsey & Martins – Who will come out on top?

US soccer heroes Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey will also face up against one another, and will be key for their respective sides.

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The Galaxy will be looking to avenge their Supporters’ Shield loss, but the Sounders will have the added desire to try and create history by wrapping up the treble if they can get through two tricky ties against Los Angeles.

Seattle Sounders away form: Played 18 – Won 8 – Drawn 4 – Lost 6

The home side must ensure they have a positive result in this game and Seattle will want that all-important away goal – the goal that was the deciding factor in their semi-final contest with FC Dallas.

The 1-1-1 record between these two in the regular season means this couldn’t be more evenly poised and LA will be hoping to take a victory into the away fixture the following week.

We can expect the Sounders to look to absorb pressure from the Galaxy and hit them with pace on the counter. Hold up play is going to be a key part of the game for both Martins and Dempsey as LA will likely dominate possession.

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Osvaldo Alonso is expected to recover from a knock in time to play on Sunday, and Seattle will be desperately hoping that he does indeed make the game. He is the key man in midfield and without him, LA will dominate everything in the centre of the park.

The Galaxy will need to be tight at the back and not over-commit men forward when trying to break Seattle down to avoid being hit on the counter. They will be feeling great ahead of the game though, after the 5-0 demolition of Real Salt Lake in their semi-final clash – something that was a real surprise.

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A special mention has to go out to Landon Donovan after he showed his class yet again with that hat-trick in the 5-0 win over RSL and Seattle will need to try and keep him quiet in what could be his final game at StubHub Center.

This will be a very exciting two-legged affair and we are really looking forward to the game.

Key Player: Landon Donovan – this could be his last home game for the Galaxy and the big-game player will play a key role in both ties.

Key Stat: Both Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) and Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders) have contributed to 26% of their clubs goals this season.

LA Galaxy Last 5: L/D/L/D/W

Seattle Sounders Last 5: L/D/W/D/D

Prediction: LA Galaxy 2-2 Seattle Sounders

Ronaldinho set to replace Landon Donovan at LA Galaxy – report

Brazilian legend Ronaldinho is once again being linked with a move to Major League Soccer and he is being tipped to replace Landon Donovan at LA Galaxy.

The 34-year-old is currently playing for Mexican club Queretaro but could be set to leave after just three months to play soccer in the United States, according to Codice Informativo

Ronaldinho has played in homeland Brazil and Mexico since moving away from European football he has been linked with playing MLS on several occasions, though this time it seems to make sense.

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Los Angeles is the sort of place a star of Ronaldinho’s calibre would want to play and with Donovan set to retire after the Galaxy’s playoff run comes to an end, a move to bring in the former Barcelona and AC Milan star would be sensible.

He guarantees excitement and skill and would be able to fill the designated player spot Donovan is set to free up when he hangs his boots up within the next few weeks.

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Ronaldinho is thought to be unsettled in Liga MX despite scoring three goals and picking up one assist in eight appearances so far, and he could end his two-year contract very early.

He was also linked with LA when David Beckham left the club but it is surely his last chance to make the move to the fastest growing league in the world.

At 34 his best years may be behind him, though his marketing value is something that will appeal to MLS and the fact that his Brazilian friend Kaka is also joining the league next season could also help his decision.

Ronaldinho continues to showcase skills with ‘shark attack’ volley (via FNTV on YouTube):

Trying to replace Landon Donovan was never going to be easy but if the Galaxy have wrapped up a deal for Ronaldinho already, then they deserve great credit. Though it remains to be seen if the reports are accurate.

Would Ronaldinho be a good replacement for Landon Donovan at LA Galaxy?

Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs LA Galaxy

Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy will go head-to-head in arguably the most crucial game of the season at CenturyLink Field on Saturday as both teams fight to become the Supporters’ Shield winners.

Soccer games do not come bigger than this as these two Western Conference sides are the only teams that can now win the Supporters’ Shield title.

The formula is simple – LA Galaxy absolutely have to win the game in order to clinch it, whereas a draw would be enough for Seattle due to their superior ‘games won’ tally giving the Sounders the most slightest of advantages going in to it.

As it stands going in to the final game:

AS IT STANDS

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Seattle Sounders come in to this game on the back of an inconsistent run of form with just two wins from their last six games so they will need to try and give it one final push to ensure they don’t fall at the final hurdle.

They have failed to beat LA Galaxy in their last six regular season meetings, so they will be relieved that they aren’t the team that has to win this game – their last win against the Galaxy was a resounding 4-0 success back in August 2012.

Seattle Sounders home form: Played 16 – Won 11 – Drawn 1 – Lost 4

Before a narrow defeat to FC Dallas and a thrilling draw with Seattle, LA Galaxy have been almost unstoppable, winning eight of the previous ten games and they’ve lost just three in their last 25 matches – an impressive record.

They were on the verge of a priceless victory on Sunday night when they led Seattle 2-0, so they will be devastated that they threw the game away but they have it in them to recover quickly and go again.

Inconsistency away from home would be the only concern for LA as five of their six defeats this season have come in games away from the StubHub Center.

Having said that, they convincingly brushed Seattle aside the last time they visited CenturyLink field in July and ran out 3-0 winners, so they will be hoping for a repeat performance.

Should LA Galaxy be victorious, they will become the most successful side in the history of the Supporters’ Shield with five titles – they are currently tied with DC United on four.

LA Galaxy’s away form: Played 16 – Won 5 – Drawn 6 – Lost 5

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It’s the biggest game of the regular season, it promises to be exciting and it’s unlikely to disappoint.

We can’t wait to see it all unfold.

Key Player: Obafemi Martins – The Nigerian is in the running for the MVP award for his efforts this season and if he performs to the best of his ability, he could drag Seattle over the finish line.

Key Stat: LA Galaxy have both the best attack (69 scored) and best defence in the league (35 conceded) so they will be hoping that counts for something come the end of the season. 

Seattle Sounders last five: L/W/W/L/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: W/W/W/L/D

Prediction: Seattle Sounders 1 – 2 LA Galaxy

The MLSGB team’s MLS MVP picks

The 2014 Major League Soccer season is close to completion, with just one more weekend of regular season action to look forward to before the excitement of the playoffs.

It has been a long season, interrupted halfway through by the World Cup in Brazil, but the standard of football in the league has been impressive throughout, and will only continue to improve in years to come.

It is nearly the time of year when the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award is announced, and the MLSGB team have all picked who they feel deserves the prestigious accolade.

Louis East – Lee Nguyen

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The New England Revolution would not be where it is without Lee Nguyen. No doubt about it. The playmaker has been phenomenal all season, and has scored an incredible 17 goals from midfield, while also picking up five assists. He may add to that tally in the final game against Toronto this weekend, but even if he doesn’t, he deserves the award as his side would not be heading into the playoffs were it not for his contribution, and he will hopefully receive a USMNT call-up before too long too.

Simon Pyne – Robbie Keane

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Robbie Keane has been phenomenal this season, and his goals have lead the Galaxy to a successful season yet again. He finished as runner-up for the MVP award last year, but deserves to go one better and claim it this season. He will look to continue to shine into the playoffs as LA search for their fifth MLS Cup.

Jamie Ives – Bradley Wright-Phillips

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The Englishman’s goals have been the only reason New York Red Bulls have challenged for a playoff spot. Goals win games and he has won a fair few points for the Red Bulls single-handedly. Undoubtedly the best player in the league this year, especially when you consider the improvement we have seen in his game.

Ben Ashton – Robbie Keane

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If Robbie Keane does scoop the MVP award, I don’t think many people could complain about it. The Irishman has been in fine form once again this season, contributing to an impressive 33 goals in total (19 scored with 14 assists), which is more than any player in the league. It’s very much a cliché, but the game is all about creating and scoring goals – and Keane is the absolute master of both.

Lewis Addley – Lee Nguyen

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Scoring 17 goals from midfield is exceptional, with a lot of those goals coming in games where New England have only won by the odd goal or avoided defeat. He has started every game for the Revs this season, performing consistently well throughout, and his general game has come on leaps and bounds from the last campaign.

Zack Walford – Landon Donovan

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The retiring legend has had another fantastic season. He has continued to perform to the best of his ability, despite the shock exclusion from Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad in June. His creativity has helped the LA Galaxy to the playoffs once again, and it would be the perfect ending if the Galaxy were to lift their fifth MLS Cup at the end of the season.

Who do you think deserves to be named as MVP from the 2014 MLS season?

Obafemi Martins further emphasises importance in Seattle’s comeback display

The Seattle Sounders rallied in the second-half to earn a valuable point away at fellow MLS Supporters’ Shield contenders LA Galaxy on Sunday night, with Obafemi Martins at the heart of everything the Sounders did going forward once again.

A Seattle win would have wrapped up the Supporters Shield a week before the end of the season, but the draw means that their is all to play for when the sides meet again in the final game of the regular season at CenturyLink Field.

Goals from Baggio Husidic and Marcelo Sarvas either side of halftime put LA 2-0 up, and all looked to be going accordingly in Landon Donovan’s final regular season home game.

But Seattle weren’t to be defeated that easily, and Martins inspired them to come back and earn a draw as he picked up two assists for Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle goals in quick succession.

Omar Gonzalez was sent off late on, and he will miss the decider on Saturday night as a result, but Martins is the man who deserves to be talked about, as the 29-year-old did his MVP claims no harm by setting up both Sounders goals.

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Martins had more shots than anyone on the pitch last night with five, and also completed more dribbles than anyone else on the field.

He made three key passes, and proved to be the main attacking threat once more – a significant claim when playing alongside Clint Dempsey.

Martins is undoubtedly in the running for the MVP award, and another outstanding display in the final game could be a huge factor, as Robbie Keane appears the favourite for MVP at the moment.

The Nigerian striker has scored 17 goals this season, joint-fourth most in the league, tied with Lee Nguyen (another MVP candidate), and has the joint-second highest amount of assists with 11, as only Landon Donovan has more (14).

Martins looks set to stay in Seattle for another couple of seasons as he is reportedly closing in on a contract extension, but that won’t be until after the season.

He will be crucial for the Sounders on Saturday night, and in the playoffs as well as Seattle are set to fight for their first MLS Cup win.

How important is Martins to Seattle? Does he deserve the MVP award?

Preview: LA Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders

All eyes will be on the StubHub center on Sunday night as LA Galaxy play host to their Western Conference rivals, Seattle Sounders, with both side’s fighting for the Supporters’ Shield in the final two games of the season.

Billed as the game of the season, this has the potential to thrill. When you throw names like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Robbie Keane and Obafemi Martins into the same game, you’re in for a treat.

Sadly for the Sounders, they have only won once against the Galaxy in their last seven. And the Galaxy have won their last six at home.

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All the stats point towards a shutout for L.A and a few goals too, as they have only conceded twelve at home, but football isn’t played on paper as we all know and this could go either way.

Seattle can clinch the Supporters’ Shield win a victory in LA, as they have won more games than the Galaxy, and whoever comes out on top over the next two games will earn the top seed in the Western Conference.

The Galaxy must ensure they don’t lose to keep their season on track, and a draw will set next week’s meeting in Seattle up to thrill even more, but this should be good!

Key Player: Landon Donovan – it may be the obvious choice but with ten goals and fourteen assists, LD is crucial to the Galaxy. Expect him to be the star in his final regular season game in LA.

Key Stat: Seattle hasn’t won on the road to LA since 2009. Time to end that streak, and clinch the Supporters’ Shield?

Prediction: L.A Galaxy 2 – 1 Seattle Sounders