The MLS Cup Top 20: Nos. 15-11
We began our countdown of the 20 MLS Cup finals to date with Nos. 20-16. Missed those? Check them out here.
Now, it’s time for 15-11, which features a mix of finals from two different millenniums:
MLS Cup 2002
The Galaxy were MLS' Buffalo Bills before Carlos Ruiz's 35th goal of the year 23 minutes into overtime gave the club its first Cup title in four tries. It was the last MLS Cup golden goal the league would see, and it somewhat elevates an otherwise dreary encounter.
The first 80 minutes were a snooze, but there's never been a more electric finish. Adin Brown dived to stop Ruiz in the 110th minute, and the Revs nearly won it two minutes later, when Winston Griffiths’ shot from outside the box deflected high off a defender and looped onto the crossbar. Tyrone Marshall made the difference right after, stripping Alex Pineda Chacon, racing up the right flank to collect Chris Albright's return ball into space, then feeding into the box for the open Ruiz, who directed it to the lower right.
That spoiled the affair for most of the still-Cup-record crowd of 61,316. LA was the fourth Cup/Shield double winner, and New England -- one of four teams to reach the final after posting a losing regular-season record -- was on its way to becoming the new Bills.
-- Scott French