The LA Galaxy and New England Revolution will meet on Sunday at the StubHub Center in Carson, California for the 2014 MLS Cup, the final match which will determine the 2014 Major League champions.
The hosts will be appearing in their ninth Cup final, winning four so far, while the Revs are winless in four tries. Both teams narrowly qualified for Sunday's showpiece after winning their conference semi-finals, and with little to separate them on paper, this year's final should be a close affair.
Landon Donovan's last match in the MLS has dominated headlines all week, as America's most decorated player in the sport's history will have a chance to give his career the kind of Hollywood-ending it deserves.
Date: Sunday, Dec. 7
Time: 3 p.m. ET/8 p.m. GMT
Venue: StubHub Center, Carson (Home of the Galaxy)
TV info and live stream: The match will be broadcast on ESPN and UniMas (for U.S. viewers), with mobile coverage available via WatchESPN.
Europe vs. South America—Who Would Win? We Simmed on FIFA17
Inside Transfer Deadline Day: Access All Areas at Sheffield United
FIFA Sim: Bundesliga All-Stars vs. Serie a All-Stars
Meet 'Billy the Wonder Kid': the 7-Year-Old Football Phenomenon
Juventus vs. Real Madrid: Champions League Final Goes Space Invaders
Gianluigi Buffon Is an All-Time Great: Will He Finally Win the Champions League?
Duong Ly Picks Football's Biggest Results: Who Wins the Champions League Final?
Can Real Madrid Unlock Juventus' Defense in UEFA Champions League Final?
FC Copenhagen Fans Throw Beach Toys on Pitch During Final Match of Season
Goodbye to Tottenham Hotspur's Famous Old Stadium—White Hart Lane
Blue Is the Colour—B/R Animation Celebrates Chelsea's Title
Lyngby Goalkeeper Makes Incredible Goalkeeping Blunder
We Asked Fans in Egypt: Who Is Your Champions League Legend?
Here Is What Happened When the Champions League Trophy Visited Egypt
6-Year-Old Prodigy Ariana Dos Santos Has Has Met Her Barcelona Heroes
Jamaican Fans Tell B/R Their UEFA Champions League Memories
Arsene Wenger Carries on Regardless as Arsenal Stars Cause Chaos in Background
N'golo Kante Will Win the PFA Players' Player of the Year Award
Dmytro Hrechyshkin Scores Fine Free-Kick for Vorskla—but Did He Mean It?
To say people are excited about the 19th edition of the MLS Cup final would be an understatement—ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman and Goal's Ives Galarcep have been talking about the match all week:
The level of excitement is understandable, of course. The amount of storylines surrounding this match are vast, beginning with Donovan's farewell to the league he has done so much for.
As he told Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl, coach Bruce Arena felt as if the farewell presentations for the legendary midfielder were too much, and it took its toll on his team and the player himself:
I think we’ve dealt with it since then. I think that whole thing was a circus act, the last two or three weeks. It probably served more of other people’s interest than Landon’s. It became overwhelming for Landon as well. It was tough. It wasn’t going to be easy anyway, but it was tough. And it impacted his ability to finish out the regular season as well as I would have liked, or he would have liked perhaps. But it is what it is.
Things won't get any easier on Sunday, playing in front of a vocal home crowd who will come out in force to watch the 32-year-old lace up his boots one last time.
On the other side of the pitch will be the Revolution and Jermaine Jones, whose addition to the squad helped propel them to new heights. His wealth of experience and pure talent really shone during the play-offs, and Wahl wonders whether he can cap off his incredible season the right way:
For New England, Sunday's match represents a date with destiny. After four losses from four tries, it seems almost fitting the Revs have a chance to finally get over the hump against the league's most successful side, via ESPN.com's Arash Markazi:
The Revs have impressed with their explosive attack so far in the play-offs, scoring 11 goals in four matches. Lee Nguyen and Charlie Davies are in the form of their lives, and they'll look to continue that form against LA.
But the Galaxy's attacking players aren't exactly scrubs, either, with Marcelo Sarvas and Juninho playing in service of Donovan and league MVP Robbie Keane, per the club's official Twitter feed:
Simply outscoring LA won't do on Sunday—it will be up to the Revs to control the battle in the centre of the pitch and stay focused at the back for 90 minutes.
Jones' emergence as arguably the league's best protector has allowed Nguyen to do what he does best, which is create chances by using his superb vision. Against the Galaxy, things won't be any different.
The hosts have been here before. They'll have the hometown fans behind them for the full 90 minutes, and with a wealth of experience on the pitch, LA are prepared for virtually any situation.
Defensively, the Galaxy have the advantage, conceding just two goals throughout the play-offs, compared to New England's six. Combined with their experience and impressive firepower, the hosts have to be the (slight) favourites going into Sunday's final.
Final Prediction: La Galaxy 2-1 New England Revolution