The 2005 LA Galaxy may not have had the best record in MLS, but no one could dispute their knack for winning big games.
Although the team ended the season in fourth place in the Western Conference with 45 points from a record of 13-13-6, the Galaxy were able to earn a berth into the 2005 MLS Cup Playoffs. Part of the reason that LA qualified for the postseason was their ability to win at The Home Depot Center as the club finished with an impressive 10-3-3 regular season record at home.
Waiting for LA in the Western Conference Semifinals were the Supporters’ Shield winners, the San Jose Earthquakes. The Galaxy’s arch-rivals had finished the season as the runaway winners of MLS, going 18-4-10 on the season, including defeating the Galaxy in three of four meetings during the regular season. The Galaxy approached the first leg at The Home Depot Center with plenty of experience with big games at home, having knocked off FC Dallas just less a month earlier to win the 2005 U.S. Open Cup.
Although they entered the match as heavy underdogs, it didn’t take long for the Galaxy to put the Quakes on their heels as Herculez Gomez tallied in the 13th minute. From there, it was former San Jose star Landon Donovan, who had been a thorn in the side of the Galaxy during his days with the Quakes, who took control.
Donovan tallied in the 39th minute before finding the back of the net in the 87th minute to put the Galaxy ahead 3-1 on aggregate, heading into second leg.
The Earthquakes work was cut out for them in the second leg at Spartan Stadium, but they were able to strike first as in the 42nd minute, Brian Ching put San Jose up 1-0, cutting LA’s aggregate lead to 3-2. San Jose’s comeback bid fell short, however, as Ned Grabavoy tallied in the 67th minute to help seal a 4-2 aggregate win for the Galaxy.
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Advancing to the Western Conference Championship by knocking off the Supporters’ Shield winning Earthquakes did wonders for the confidence of the plucky Galaxy side. Fortified by their showing against San Jose, the Galaxy went on the road and knocked off the Colorado Rapids 2-0 with a brace from Donovan to advance to the MLS Cup Final against the New England Revolution.
But we’ll have more on that a little bit later…
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com