Dignity Health Sports Park
Dignity Health Sports Park the Home Depot Center and StubHub Center, is a multiple-use sports complex located on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California that consists of a soccer stadium, a separate tennis stadium, a track and field facility, a velodrome: VELO Sports Center. It is fourteen miles south of downtown Los Angeles and its primary tenant is the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer, it is the temporary home of the Los Angeles Chargers of the National Football League. Opened in 2003, the $150 million complex was developed and is operated by the Anschutz Entertainment Group. With a seating capacity of 27,000, it is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U. S. and the second-largest among its kind in MLS, after Canadian Toronto FC's BMO Field. In addition to hosting LA Galaxy games since its opening, the stadium served as the home of the now-defunct Chivas USA MLS team from 2005 to 2014; the stadium became the temporary home of the Los Angeles Chargers beginning in 2017 – making it the smallest NFL stadium – until the completion of the Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park in 2020, which they will share with the Los Angeles Rams.
During the 2018 Los Angeles Chargers season, while the Chargers played in the stadium, the facility was named ROKiT Field at StubHub Center. During its first decade, the stadium's sponsor was hardware retailer The Home Depot. In 2013, the title sponsor became the online ticket marketplace StubHub. In 2019, the name sponsor became healthcare provider Dignity Health. Opened as the "Home Depot Center" in 2003, it was renamed "StubHub Center" on June 1, 2013, it was renamed "Dignity Health Sports Park" on January 1, 2019, after Dignity Health signed a new naming rights agreement. The 27,000-seat main stadium was the second American sports arena designed for soccer in the MLS era; when the venue opened in June 2003 as the new home of LA Galaxy, a number of special events took place in celebration. Pelé was in attendance at the opening match along with many dignitaries from the soccer world and other celebrities. In addition to the soccer stadium, Dignity Health Sports Park features the 2,450-seat VELO Sports Center, an 8,000-seat tennis stadium.
And an outdoor track and field facility that has 2,000 permanent seats and is expandable to 20,000. Soccer stadium building costs within the $150 million complex were around $87 million. In 2017, to accommodate the Chargers' use of the stadium, upgrades were made at cost to the Chargers including bleachers in the second deck on the east side of the stadium being replaced by tip-up seats and moved to the berm on the north side, adding 1,000 seats. A new section of upper-level bleachers, which seat 330, were erected in the southeast corner of the stadium; the luxury suites were renovated with new seats, community tables, engineered hardwood floors and the press box underwent an upgrade with a third row added to the main box, boosting capacity from about 35 to 53. Floors were constructed on the roof of the luxury suites so an auxiliary press box could be built on both sides of the main box. Two new radio booths were built outside the south side of the press box, a large new booth on the north side which serves as a security command post for police and NFL officials was constructed.
Two booths were added on each side of the press box for the NFL-mandated 20-yard-line television cameras, a stairway allowing access to the roof of the main box was built to accommodate the 50-yard-line camera. To accommodate 53-man NFL rosters, four small locker rooms were converted to two larger ones with 60 cubicles in each. Added were small postgame news conference rooms for each team and rooms for game officials and the chain gang. Aside from being home to the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer, it was home to two defunct clubs, the MLS team Chivas USA as well as Los Angeles Sol of the Women's Professional Soccer; the stadium hosted the 2003 MLS All-Star Game and the MLS Cup in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014. Dignity Health Sports Park was the site of the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup final. Both the United States women's and men's national soccer teams use the facility for training camps and select home matches, it hosted the 2004 NCAA Men's College Cup, with Duke, Maryland, UC Santa Barbara qualifying.
The track and field stadium on the site is home to the LA Galaxy II of the United Soccer League, farm club to the parent Galaxy. On July 30, 2016, it hosted a 2016 International Champions Cup match between Paris Saint-Germain and Leicester City. Paris Saint-Germain won the match 4–0 to complete a perfect record in the ICC; the stadium hosted the first three editions of the USA Sevens, an annual international rugby sevens competition, part of the IRB Sevens World Series. The stadium has hosted all United States national team matches for the Pacific Nations Cup since 2013, it was the location for the State Championship Bowl Games for high school football teams in the state of California from 2006 to 2014. The Semper Fidelis All America game was held there on January 5, 2014, featuring an East vs West high school matchup; the first college football game was held at the stadium on January 21, 2012, as the AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, with the National Team beating the American Team 20–14. The track played host to the 2005 USA Outdoor Field Championships.
It is the home of the Adidas Running Club, a member of the USA Elite Running Circuit, the Adidas Track Classic. Dignity Health Sports Park is home to Athletes' Performance which trains athletes in a variety of sports; the Los Angeles Riptide of Majo
Mark William Geiger is an American sports administrator and former soccer referee. He is the senior director of match officials at the Professional Referee Organization, which oversees domestic referees in Major League Soccer. Geiger officiated in MLS and was on the FIFA International Referees List from 2008 to 2019. At the international level, Geiger refereed the 2012 Olympics. At the 2014 World Cup, he became the first referee from the United States to officiate a knockout match at a World Cup tournament. Before becoming a full-time referee, Geiger was a high school mathematics teacher. Geiger first took up refereeing in 1988, he became a United States Soccer Federation National Referee in 2003 and officiated in Major League Soccer from 2004 to 2018. He has officiated in CONCACAF tournaments since becoming a FIFA referee in 2008, has officiated Gold Cup and other international tournaments and fixtures. Geiger was selected for the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in 2011. Geiger officiated at the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
He officiated the Group E game between eventual tournament champions Brazil and Austria at Estadio Metropolitano Roberto Meléndez in Barranquilla. He took charge of the Group B game between Uruguay and Cameroon at Estadio El Campín in Bogotá, he was appointed to the Round of 16 match between Spain and South Korea at Estadio Palogrande in Manizales. He refereed the Final with American Assistant Referee Sean Hurd and Canadian Assistant Referee Joe Fletcher, between Brazil and Portugal at Estadio El Campín in Bogotá; this is the first time a referee from the United States has officiated a major men's tournament final. Geiger was selected as the Major League Soccer referee of the year for the 2011 season, again in 2014. In 2012, Geiger was selected as one of 16 referees to officiate at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Geiger took charge of the Group D match between Spain vs. Japan and the quarterfinal between Japan vs. Egypt. In 2013, Geiger was an official at the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Geiger was selected as CONCACAF's representative referee for the 2013 Club World Cup.
Geiger was one of 25 referees appointed for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Geiger described the assignment to the World Cup as "an immensely proud moment". Geiger officiated the 2014 World Cup Group C match between Colombia and Greece at the Estadio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte. Geiger was selected to officiate the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. In the Group Stage, Geiger officiated the Group B match between Australia and Germany in Sochi as well as the Group A match between New Zealand and Portugal in Saint Petersburg. Geiger was one of 36 referees selected for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, working with a North American crew of Joe Fletcher from Canada and Frank Anderson from USA. Geiger served as referee on three was VAR on five matches. Geiger's first assignment was the second group stage match of Group B between Morocco. Geiger worked as the VAR In the match between Australia. During the match he advised the referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz, to review a possible handball in the penalty area.
After review, Lahoz awarded a penalty kick that allowed the Socceroos to score and secure a 1-1 draw. He subsequently worked as VAR for the Group D match between Argentina and Iceland, the Group E match featuring Belgium and Tunisia and the Round of 16 contest between Uruguay and Portugal before his final assignment in the tournament’s Third Place match. Geiger officiated the Group F third match between South Korea and Germany. South Korea defeated Germany 2-0, he officiated at the Round of 16 game between Colombia and England. England advanced on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Geiger was selected as one of the final 12 referees on the shortlist to officiate the final or third place play-off match, was selected to be VAR on the 3rd place match between Belgium and England. On January 9, 2019, Geiger announced that he would retire from refereeing and take up a position within PRO as its director of senior match officials. Geiger grew up in Beachwood, New Jersey. After studying teaching at Trenton State College, he became a mathematics teacher at Lacey Township High School in Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey, a role that he gave up to become a full-time referee.
While at Lacey Township High School, Geiger was among 103 recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2010. MLS Referee of the Year: 2011, 2014 Morgan J. Hellebuyck North American Officials Award 2006 Profile at Professional Referee Organization Profile at worldreferee.com Profile at int.soccerway.com
Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City shortened to Sporting KC, is an American professional soccer club in Kansas City, with its main office and historic location in Kansas City, Missouri. The club competes as a member of the Western Conference in Major League Soccer, having returned in 2015 after spending ten seasons in the Eastern Conference. Sporting KC began play in 1996 as a charter team in the league known as the Kansas City Wiz; the team was founded by Lamar Hunt in 1995. Since moving across the state line, they have been the only major professional sports league franchise to play their home games in Kansas. For the majority of their existence, the franchise were known as the Kansas City Wizards; the team rebranded in November 2010, coinciding with its move to their home stadium, now known as Children's Mercy Park. The franchise has won the MLS Cup twice, the Supporters' Shield in 2000, the U. S. Open Cup in 2004, 2012, 2015 and 2017; the club has a reserve team, Swope Park Rangers, that plays in the second-tier United Soccer League.
The Kansas City MLS franchise was founded by Lamar Hunt, the founder of the American Football League, the Kansas City Chiefs, the United Soccer Association, Major League Soccer. The Kansas City Wiz played their first game on April 13, 1996, defeating the Colorado Rapids at Arrowhead Stadium, 3–0; the Wiz players included Preki, Mo Johnston and Digital Takawira, were coached by Ron Newman. The team finished third in the Western Conference in 1996 regular season with a 17–15 record, qualifying for the first MLS Playoffs. In the 1996 conference semi-finals, the Wiz beat the Dallas Burn in three games, winning the final game in a shootout, before losing the conference final to the LA Galaxy. Following the 1996 season, the Wiz changed names, becoming the "Wizards", following legal action from electronics retailer The Wiz. For the 1997 MLS season, their record was 21–11, sufficient for the Western Conference regular season championship. Preki was named 1997 MLS MVP. In the first round of the playoffs, the Wizards lost to the last-seeded Colorado Rapids.
The Wizards had losing records for the 1998 and 1999 seasons, finishing last in the Western Conference both years. The Wizards fired Ron Newman early during the 1999 season, replaced him with Bob Gansler; the Wizards finished the 1999 season with a record of 8–24, which put them in last place in the Western Conference once again. In 2000, their first full season under Bob Gansler, the Wizards opened the season on a 12-game unbeaten streak. Goalkeeper Tony Meola recorded an MLS record shutout streak at 681 minutes and 16 shutouts, won MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS MVP. Peter Vermes was named 2000 MLS Defender of the Year; the Wizards finished the 2000 regular season 16–7–9, the best record in the league, winning the MLS Supporters' Shield. In the 2000 playoffs, fell behind 4 to 1 to the LA Galaxy, but Miklos Molnar scored a penalty kick in game three to send the series into a tiebreaker, where he scored again to send the Wizards to their first MLS Cup. At RFK Stadium in Washington, D. C. the Wizards, with the league's best defense, faced the team with the league's best offense, the Chicago Fire.
The Wizards took the lead on an 11th-minute goal by Miklos Molnar. The Fire put ten shots on goal, but Tony Meola and the defense held, the Wizards claimed their first MLS Cup Championship. Tony Meola was named 2000 MLS Cup MVP. After the loss of Preki to the Miami Fusion, the team struggled to defend their championship in 2001, making the playoffs as the 8th seed with a record of 11–13–3. In the first round, the Wizards' reign as champion ended with a 6 points to 3 loss to Preki and the Miami Fusion. Despite getting back Preki, the Wizards sat in last place in the Western Conference in 2002, they made the playoffs with a record of 9–10–9. The last two teams in the East, the MetroStars and D. C. United missed the playoffs. In the first round, the team would fall, 6 points to 3 to Los Angeles Galaxy; the Wizards returned to the top half of the West in 2003 with a record of 11–10–9. In the first round of the playoffs, the Wizards defeated the Colorado Rapids in the aggregate goal series, 3–1; that set up a one-game showdown with the San Jose Earthquakes the winner would advance to the 2003 MLS Cup.
The Wizards took the lead, but the Earthquakes battled back and forced golden goal in overtime by Landon Donovan in the 117th minute, which sent his team to the 2003 MLS Cup and the Wizards home. The Wizards started out 2004 mediocre, before turning around in the summer; the Wizards finished the season on a six-game unbeaten streak to finish 14–9–9 for the Western Conference regular season championship. Goalkeeper Tony Meola backup Bo Oshoniyi filled as a replacement. In the first round of the 2004 playoffs, the Wizards lost the first game to San Jose Earthquakes, 2–0. In the second game, the Wizards scored 2 goals before Jack Jewsbury scored in stoppage time to move KC onto the conference final. In the conference final, the Wizards held off the Los Angeles Galaxy to reach their second MLS Cup. In the 2004 MLS Cup final, the Wizards went up against D. C. United at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California; the Wizards Jose Burciaga scored in the sixth minute, but D. C. United replied with three goals in the first half.
KC was given a lifeline in the 58th minute as Josh Wolff scored the first penalty kick in MLS Cup history, but KC lost the 2004 MLS Cup final 3–2. Following MLS expansion, the Wizards moved to the Eastern Conference in 2005. By the end of the 2005 season, despite the solid play of 2005 MLS Defender of the Year Jimmy Conrad, the Wizards found themselves outside the playoffs with a record of 11–9–12. After the season, the
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer is a men's professional soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation which represents the sport's highest level in the United States. The league comprises 24 teams—21 in the U. S. and 3 in Canada and constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues in both countries. The regular season runs from March with each team playing 34 games. Fourteen teams compete in the postseason MLS Cup Playoffs through October and November, culminating in the championship game, the MLS Cup. MLS teams play in domestic competitions against teams from other divisions in the U. S. Open in the Canadian Championship. MLS teams compete against continental rivals in the CONCACAF Champions League. Major League Soccer was founded in 1993 as part of the United States' successful bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup; the first season took place in 1996 with ten teams. MLS experienced financial and operational struggles in its first few years: the league lost millions of dollars, teams played in empty American football stadiums, two teams folded in 2002.
Since MLS has expanded to 24 teams, soccer-specific stadiums have proliferated around the league, average attendance exceeds that of the National Hockey League and National Basketball Association, the Designated Player Rule allows teams to sign star players such as David Beckham, MLS secured national TV contracts, the league is now profitable. Instead of operating as an association of independently owned teams, MLS is a single entity in which each team is owned by the league and individually operated by the league's investors; the investor-operators control their teams as owners control teams in other leagues, are referred to as the team's owners. The league has a fixed membership like most sports leagues in the United States and Canada, which makes it one of the world's few soccer leagues that does not use promotion and relegation, a practice, uncommon in the two countries. MLS headquarters is located in New York City. Major League Soccer's regular season runs from March to October. Teams are geographically divided into the Eastern and Western Conferences, playing 34 games in a balanced schedule.
For 2019, with 24 teams, each team plays two games against teams in its conference and one game against each team from the opposite conference. Midway through the season, teams break for the annual All-Star Game, an exhibition game between the league's finest players and a major club from a different league. At the end of the regular season, the team with the highest point total is awarded the Supporters' Shield and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Unlike most major soccer leagues around the world, but similar to other leagues in the Americas, the MLS regular season is followed by a postseason knockout tournament. Fourteen teams participate in the MLS Cup Playoffs in October, which concludes with the MLS Cup championship game in early November. Major League Soccer's spring-to-fall schedule results in scheduling conflicts with the FIFA calendar and with summertime international tournaments such as the World Cup and the Gold Cup, causing several players to miss some MLS matches. While MLS has looked into changing to a fall-to-spring format, there are no current plans to do so.
If the league were to change its schedule, a substantial winter break would still be necessary due to teams being located in harsh winter climates. It would have to compete with the popularity and media presence of the National Football League in the fall and winter as well as the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, which both run on fall-to-spring schedules. MLS teams play in other international and domestic competitions; every year, five MLS teams — four from the U. S. and one from Canada — play in the CONCACAF Champions League against other clubs from the CONCACAF region. Two U. S.-based MLS teams qualify based on MLS regular-season results: the winner of the Western conference and the winner of the Eastern conference. The third U. S. team to qualify is the winner of the MLS Cup. A fourth U. S.-based MLS team can qualify via the U. S. Open Cup. If a team qualifies through multiple berths, or if any of the MLS berths are taken by a Canada-based MLS team, the berth is reallocated to the best U.
S.-based team in the Supporters' Shield table that has otherwise not qualified. Canadian MLS clubs play against other Canadian clubs in the Canadian Championship for the one CONCACAF Champions League spot allocated to Canada. No MLS club has won the Champions League since it began its current format in 2008, but MLS teams have reached the final three times: Real Salt Lake in 2011, Montreal Impact in 2015, Toronto FC in 2018. Since 2018, the previous year's MLS Cup champion plays in the Campeones Cup, a single game against the Campeón de Campeones from Liga MX, hosted by the MLS team in September; the inaugural edition saw Tigres UANL defeat Toronto FC 3–1 on September 19, 2018, at BMO Field in Toronto. MLS's 24 teams are divided between the Western Conferences; each club is allowed up to 28 players on its first team roster. All 28 players are eligible for selection to each 18-player game-day squad during the regular season and playoffs. MLS has expanded since the 2005 season; the league plans to expand to 27 teams with the addition of Inter Miami CF and Nashville SC in 2020 and Austin FC in 2021, with further plans to expand to 28 teams by 2022.
The league features numerous rivalry cups that are contested by two or more teams geographic rivals. Each trophy is awarded to the team with the better regular-season record in games involving the two teams
MLS Cup 2005
MLS Cup 2005 was the 10th edition of the MLS Cup, the championship match of Major League Soccer. The match took place on November 13, 2005, at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, near Dallas, was contested between the New England Revolution and the Los Angeles Galaxy, it was a rematch of MLS Cup 2002 and ended in a repeat victory for Los Angeles, who won 1–0 on a goal scored by Guillermo Ramírez in extra time. New England qualified as the top seed in the Eastern Conference with several players named to the MLS Best XI, while Los Angeles was the lowest-seeded playoff team and had rebuilt its roster in the offseason. Ramírez, brought in on loan from CSD Municipal, had scored no goals from open play despite 62 shots but was substituted into the MLS Cup final and scored the winning goal; the match was hosted at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, the newly-built home of FC Dallas. The 21,000-seat stadium was announced as the host on November 12, 2004, it was the third major soccer-specific stadium to be built for an MLS team and cost $80 million to construct, opening on August 6, 2005.
The stadium sits at the center of a 145-acre complex with 17 soccer fields located near downtown Frisco 30 miles north of Downtown Dallas. Prior to the match, the league hosted pre-game festivities at nearby venues and parking lots, including events with FC Dallas players. Pizza Hut Park would go on to host MLS Cup 2006, the 2007 and 2016 finals of the U. S. Open Cup, which all featured the New England Revolution; the MLS Cup is the post-season championship of Major League Soccer, a professional club soccer league in the United States. The 2005 season was the tenth in league history, was contested by twelve teams divided into two conferences; each club played 32 matches during the regular season from April 2 to October 16, facing each team twice and in-conference teams two additional times. The playoffs, running from October 21 to November 13, were contested by the top four clubs in each conference, it was organized into three rounds: a home-and-away series in the Conference Semifinals, a single-match Conference Final, the MLS Cup final.
The tenth MLS Cup was contested between the New England Revolution and Los Angeles Galaxy in a rematch of the 2002 final, which the Galaxy won 1–0. It was the second time. New England finished the regular season atop the Eastern Conference, while Los Angeles was the lowest-ever seed to play in the MLS Cup final after finishing eighth overall; the Galaxy and Revolution played twice in the regular season and both matches ended in 1–1 draws. New England Revolution made it to two consecutive Eastern Conference finals in 2003 and 2004 under head coach Steve Nicol, promoted from his interim role during the run to the 2002 final; the club drafted several young midfielders and forwards during the two seasons, including Pat Noonan, Shalrie Joseph, Clint Dempsey, who helped replace retiring players or injured starters. Dempsey was named Rookie of the Year for his performance in the 2004 season, scoring seven goals and finishing third on the team in scoring behind Noonan and Taylor Twellman; the Revolution finished tied with the Chicago Fire for the worst record in the league in 2004 and qualified for the playoffs on the last day of the regular season.
The team defeated the Supporters' Shield-winning Columbus Crew 2–1 on aggregate in the Conference Semifinals. They advanced to the Conference Final, drawing 3–3 with D. C. United after extra time and losing 4–3 in the resulting penalty shootout in the sudden death sixth round; the Revolution opened the 2005 season with an eleven-match unbeaten streak, including six consecutive wins, that propelled them to first place in the Eastern Conference. The team, lost its place atop the conference to Chicago by July due to key players being released for national team callups. New England regained its first-place spot, but lost several players in early August to injuries after playing five league and U. S. Open Cup matches in 15 days; the Revolution finished the regular season with only two losses in their last nine matches, completing their best-ever season record. New England finished second in Supporters' Shield standings behind San Jose, but set new team records for wins, with 17, a conference record for points, with 59.
Twellman's 17 goals earned him the MLS Golden Boot and the league's MVP award—a first for the Revolution. Defender Michael Parkhurst earned the Rookie of the Year Award, while Twellman and Joseph were named to the MLS Best XI. New England opened the playoffs in the Conference Semifinals against the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, who clinched the 4th-seed berth on the last day of the season, mirroring the Revolution's performance in 2004; the Revolution lost 1–0 in the first leg at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, but advanced on aggregate score after a 3–1 victory at home in Massachusetts with three second-half goals. In their fourth consecutive Eastern Conference final, New England faced the Chicago Fire at home and won 1–0 on a goal in the fourth minute by Clint Dempsey and a disallowed offside goal; the Los Angeles Galaxy fired head coach Sigi Schmid midway during the 2004 season, only two years after leading them to their first cup title in 2002, despite the team's place at the top of the league.
His replacement for the remaining eight matches, former national team head coach Steve Sampson, led the team into a second-place finish in the Western Conference with only two wins and seven goals scored. After defeating the Colorado Rapids in the Conference Semifinals, the Galaxy ended their season with a 2–0 loss to the first-place Kansas City Wizards in the Western Conference Final; the Galaxy rebuilt their roster ahead of the 2005 season, retaining only 1
MLS Cup 2002
MLS Cup 2002 was the seventh edition of the MLS Cup, the championship match of Major League Soccer, which took place on October 20, 2002. It was hosted at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough and contested by the New England Revolution and the Los Angeles Galaxy to decide the champion of the 2002 season; the Revolution, who were named hosts before advancing to the final, were playing in their first MLS Cup. Los Angeles won their first championship 1–0 in the second overtime on a sudden-death goal scored by Carlos Ruiz; the match was attended by 61,316 spectators, the largest figure for any MLS Cup until 2018. It was the last MLS final to end with a golden goal. CMGI Field in Foxborough, home of the New England Revolution and the New England Patriots of the National Football League, was announced as the neutral-site venue of the MLS Cup on February 13, 2002; the new stadium was built to replace the former Foxboro Stadium, which had hosted the inaugural MLS Cup in 1996 and the 1999 edition. CMGI Field was renamed Gillette Stadium in August after the naming rights were sold to Gillette.
20,000 tickets were sold by October 10, but sales reached 55,000 after the Revolution advanced from the Conference Finals, were on pace to match or surpass the MLS Cup attendance record of 57,431 set in 1997. The stadium's capacity was restricted to 60,000 seats, excluding the box and club seats, the field itself measured 75 by 106 yards, wider than the configuration used in 1999 at Foxboro Stadium; the MLS Cup is the post-season championship of Major League Soccer, a professional club soccer league based in the United States. The 2002 season was the seventh in the league's history and was contested by ten teams in two conferences following the folding of two teams in Florida and the reorganization of the Central Division; each team played a total of 28 matches in the regular season, which ran from March to September, facing teams within their conference four times and outside of their conference two times. The playoffs ran from late September to October and was contested by the top eight teams overall, with the top two teams in each conference given a higher seed regardless of overall standing.
The playoffs were organized into three rounds, the first two being a home-and-away series organized into a best-of-three format with the first team to earn five points advancing, the single-match MLS Cup final. MLS Cup 2002 was contested by the Los Angeles Galaxy, who won the regular season's Supporters' Shield, the New England Revolution, the highest-ranked team from the Eastern Conference; the Galaxy and Revolution played each other twice in the regular season: a 3–2 victory for New England on May 25 and a 2–1 win for Los Angeles on August 10. The two teams played each other in the 2001 U. S. Open Cup Final, where Los Angeles won 2–1 in overtime; the Los Angeles Galaxy had qualified for the playoffs in each of the league's previous six seasons and were runners-up at the MLS Cup on three previous occasions: losing to D. C. United in 1996 and 1999, to in-state rivals San Jose Earthquakes in 2001. While they had won other competitions, including the U. S. Open Cup and the CONCACAF Champions' Cup, the team were compared to the NFL's Buffalo Bills, who were runners-up at the Super Bowl several times in the 1990s.
Guatemalan forward Carlos Ruiz, acquired in the offseason, scored 24 goals in his first season with the Galaxy and was named the league's most valuable player. The Galaxy finished as Supporters' Shield champions with 51 points, while the remaining Western Conference teams all qualified for the playoffs. Veteran forward Cobi Jones ranked second in goals scored for the Galaxy, behind Ruiz, enjoyed a comeback season alongside defender and U. S. compatriot Alexi Lalas. In the Conference Semifinals, Los Angeles faced the bottom-seeded Kansas City Wizards in a first-to-five point series; the first leg at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, was won by the Galaxy 3–2 after a golden goal was scored by Ruiz in the 99th minute. The Wizards won 4–1 in the second leg at Arrowhead Stadium, setting up a series-deciding third match at the Rose Bowl. Los Angeles won the third leg 5–2, with two goals each for Jones and Ruiz, advanced to the Conference Finals with six points; the Galaxy played against the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference Finals, held over the following week under the same format as the Semifinals.
The team won 4–0 at the Rose Bowl and 1–0 at INVESCO Field in Denver, bringing the Galaxy to their fourth MLS Cup final. The Revolution failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2001, following several years of poor on-field performances that resulted in the worst winning record of the league's ten teams. Despite their league performance, New England finished as runners-up to the Galaxy in the 2001 U. S. Open Cup. During the 2002 preseason, the club acquired several players from the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Miami Fusion in trades and the Allocation Draft following the contraction of the two clubs, including league MVP Alex Pineda Chacón, forward Mamadou Diallo, midfielder Steve Ralston, defender Carlos Llamosa. New England drafted forward Taylor Twellman in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft following a successful college career and a return from TSV 1860 Munich. Head coach Fernando Clavijo was fired after the seventh match of the season, with the Revolution only winning two. Assistant coach Steve Nicol was promoted to interim head coach on May 23 and completed a turnaround from last to first in the Eastern Conference, leading the team into the playoffs and earning the coach of the year award.
New England finished the season with a six-match unbeaten streak and a total record of 12 wins, 14 losses, two draws, scoring a lea
MLS Cup 2015
MLS Cup 2015 was the 20th edition of MLS Cup, the championship game of Major League Soccer. The match was to determine the champion of MLS' 2015 season; the championship was contested on December 6, 2015 between the Columbus Crew SC and the Portland Timbers at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, with the latter winning 2–1 and earning a berth into the 2016–17 CONCACAF Champions League. The Timbers' Diego Valeri scored the fastest goal in MLS Cup history at 27 seconds after Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark miscontrolled his defender's back-pass. Portland doubled their lead in the seventh minute with a goal by Rodney Wallace, although Columbus got a goal back through Kei Kamara in the 18th minute, the Timbers held on for their first MLS Cup championship, it was the first men's professional sports championship for a team from Portland, Oregon since the Portland Trail Blazers won the 1977 NBA championship. Source: Portland opened up the scoring early as midfielder Diego Valeri swiped the ball out from under Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark and flicked the ball into the back of the net with one touch at the 27-second mark.
It was the fastest goal scored in an MLS Cup match. The Timbers kept the pressure on, when the assistant referee failed to call a ball out of bounds after it drifted across the sideline and several Crew players stopped playing, Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe capitalized, passing to forward Lucas Melano to set the table for a goal by left winger Rodney Wallace that put Portland on top 2–0 in the seventh minute. In the 18th minute, Columbus got on the board after Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey failed to take control in a scramble at the goal line and Columbus forward Kei Kamara, the league's leading scorer, shot the ball into the net. Kamara's goal to make the game 2–1 ended up as Columbus' only shot on goal of the match. Portland got a number of opportunities to score in the second half, but the Timbers failed to convert. In the 60th minute, a Portland corner kick resulted in a loose ball in the penalty box, which ricocheted off the goalpost before being cleared after striking Columbus captain Michael Parkhurst's arm on the goal line.
However, no handball was called and no goal was awarded. In the 69th minute, Portland striker Fanendo Adi headed the ball toward the goal, but it deflected off the far goalpost and bounced away off Clark's body. Clark stopped a point-blank header from Portland fullback Nat Borchers in the 81st minute, tipped another shot by Adi over the net shortly thereafter; the game ended with a 2–1 scoreline as Columbus was unsuccessful in taking advantage of Portland's missed opportunities, giving the Timbers their first MLS Cup victory and the city of Portland its first men's pro sports championship since the Portland Trail Blazers won the NBA championship in 1977. Valeri was named the match's Most Valuable Player