CARSON, CALIFORNIA – Landon Donovan grabbed Robbie Keane in a triumphant midfield hug right before Donovan’s girlfriend leaped into his arms. Moments later, Donovan and Keane raised the silver trophy together amid fireworks and a confetti blizzard.
Throughout his remarkable soccer career, Donovan always did know how to finish.
One last time, he did it as a champion.
Keane scored on a breakaway in the 111th minute, and Donovan retired with his record sixth MLS title when the LA Galaxy beat the New England Revolution 2-1 on Sunday in the MLS Cup.
Gyasi Zardes scored in the 52nd minute as the Galaxy won their record fifth league title in the final game for Donovan, the MLS career scoring leader and most accomplished player in U.S. history.
“I’m in a little bit of a daze,” Donovan said, still champagne-soaked after the celebration of the Galaxy’s third league title in four years. “There’s a lot going on. A lot of obvious excitement. There’s sadness. Uncertainty. Just pure joy for this team and what we did. It just feels strange, but I’m so proud what this team accomplished this year.”
Donovan, Keane and the Galaxy have celebrated three times on their home field, the first two with David Beckham. Retiring with his skills largely still formidable, Donovan followed in Beckham’s footsteps by leaving on top, wrapping his 14-year MLS career with six titles, including two with San Jose.
“He’s done it all,” said coach Bruce Arena, who won his record fifth MLS title. “He’s got very little left to give. I’m so happy he’s made this decision. He’s able to go out a winner.”
But not without drama.
After Chris Tierney scored the tying goal in the 79th minute for New England, both teams had golden opportunities in extra time — including a tantalizingly close free kick for Donovan, who sailed it over the bar.
But Keane capped his MVP season in the second period of extra time when Marcelo Sarvas lobbed a long pass to the Irish striker, who was nearly unmarked. He gathered it and beat Bobby Shuttleworth with the same poise he showed throughout his 19-goal regular season, celebrating with his usual cartwheel and finger guns.
“We weren’t going into the game thinking about (Donovan),” Keane said. “(But) if we won a championship for him, no one deserves to go out on a high as much as he does. It’s a great honor to play with him.”
Carroll lifts West Ham
Manchester England AP
Andy Carroll displayed the attributes that once made him one of the world’s most expensive players to guide West Ham to a 3-1 win over Swansea and third place in the English Premier League on Sunday.
The tall England striker scored two headed goals and also flicked on a long ball for Diafra Sakho to grab a third as West Ham came from behind at Upton Park for a third win in eight days.
Carroll is returning to full fitness after a long injury layoff, with towering performances like this showing why Liverpool spent £35 million (then $56 million) on him in 2011.
“I’ve played a few games and I have felt like I am back,” said Carroll, back on the scoresheet for the first time since March. “Obviously, until you score, you don’t feel you’re definitely back and now I’ve got two today, it means a great deal.”
Aston Villa also rallied Sunday to beat bottom side Leicester 2-1 and seal back-to-back wins that lifted the team clear of relegation trouble and into 11th place.