CARSON, Calif. – The Revolution have figured out just about every way to lose in MLS Cup finals. On Sunday, a defensive mixup in the 21st minute of extra time cost the Revolution in a 2-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Robbie Keane beat the Revolution’s offside trap and went in alone to score on Bobby Shuttleworth.
“This is a goal we always get,’’ midfielder Jermaine Jones said. “It’s a normal long ball, it’s nothing special. They hit the ball long and the ball drops in the back and he can run in one-on-one with the goalkeeper. It’s not only today, it’s like always. The last games we were lucky we can fix it. Today, with the error and Lee (Nguyen) having to go out, we have no chance to fix it.’’
The Revolution were caught by surprise on the deciding score, with left back Chris Tierney appearing to keep Keane on-side.
“I’ll have to watch it back,’’ Tierney said. “It was a ball over the top and I think I might have kept him on-side. I was running with my guy, dropped a little the line. And so it’s disappointing. I’ll have to watch it back. Just a breakdown in communication.’’
Tierney had scored the tying goal, running onto a Patrick Mullins layoff in the 79th minute. And the Revolution nearly pulled ahead as Teal Bunbury hit the bar six minutes later.
“It could have gone either way,’’ Tierney said. “They had some chances, we had some chances. It was pretty open, maybe too open. Really could have gone either way. We knew how good they were on the ball so just try and control the ball and I think we did a good job of spreading the field and had good possessions at the end of the game. It’s about making crucial plays and they made two of them.’’
Tierney played on the left midfield, Kevin Alston starting at left back, as the Revolution eliminated the New York Red Bulls for the Eastern Conference championship. But coach Jay Heaps returned to Tierney as a defender behind Bunbury in this game, the tactic appearing to pay off, until the late-going.
The Revolution, who lost previous MLS Cups to the Galaxy in extra time (2002 and ’05) and sustained defeats against Houston on penalty kicks and in regulation time (2006 and ’07), also believed Nguyen had earned a penalty kick when he appeared to be taken down in the 51st minute.
“The guy came in from behind me and I went down,’’ Nguyen said. “They didn’t call it but that’s how it goes and you’ve got to move on.’’
Jones was critical of referee Mark Geiger.
“You know, I don’t want to say so much (about) this referee,’’ Jones said. “You can make a better decision for him – maybe the game was too big for him.’’
Said Heaps: “To be honest with you, I really thought that was a penalty.’’
Heaps said he plans “to lead this team and I’m going to do it again sometime, I’m going to get the guys back here and that’s what it’s all about.
“I thought they (the Galaxy) were good. I thought we did a great job against them but they’re going to get their moments. First goal, a little bit out of nothing, we didn’t clear our lines and we turned the ball over and that cost us. Other than the first two minutes of the game when they got that chance, I’m telling you I thought we had it.
“The guys — real competitiveness in there and a real willingness to lay it on the line and be aggressive. I thought we were the aggressor today a lot of the time. Of course, they’ve got great players and they deserve everything but we’re – no one gave us a chance and I thought our guys rallied around that and we were pretty good on the day and on the year. We were excellent this last half of the year.’’