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The 10 Greatest MLS Cup Finals: What’s #5?

The Scene: The 2001 MLS Cup Final featured the San Jose Earthquakes and the LA Galaxy and was played before nearly 22,000 fans at Columbus Crew Stadium. It would be the second MLS Cup Final to go into overtime, and when it was over, SJE hoisted their first Cup trophy, while LAG had to settle for second once again.

It was a tense game and undeniably a great one.

The Build-Up: Both SJE and LAG played in the same division, and both had very successful seasons, though LAG actually won the division title by a slim margin as well as the US Open Cup. SJE cruised through the playoffs while LAG struggled in each round but ultimately squeaked through. The stage was set for a great rivalry to play out.

The Game: LAG struck first in the 21st minute on a Luis Hernandez strike. But, just before half, Landon Donovan scored a fine goal for SJE. After neither side could break the deadlock in the second half, Dwayne de Rosario (I told you he was the most clutch player in MLS history) scored the game winner for SJE six minutes into overtime.

The Legacy: Sadly, this game was also significant because the season was cut short due to the 9/11 attacks of that year. As a result, it was the only season where teams played a different number of games (26 or 27). It was also significant because it featured a great comeback and saw Donovan beating the Gals, instead of helping them win.

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