FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Only three teams in MLS history have won back-to-back championships and the club which achieved that feat most recently – the LA Galaxy – visits Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Bruce Arena’s side has lifted the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy as MLS Cup champions each of the past two seasons, overcoming the Houston Dynamo on both occasions. The titles provided a storybook ending to the MLS career of David Beckham, who departed the Galaxy following the 2012 campaign.
Although Beckham is now retired and the Galaxy will be without the influential duo of Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez – both on international duty – this weekend, LA still rolls into Foxborough with a star-studded roster.
“They’re the champs,” said New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “For me, when you’ve won two championships in a row, it shows how good you are. Add Robbie Rogers, add Landon Donovan; it doesn’t really matter. They’re a world-class team with whoever steps on the pitch.”
With the champs coming to town, Gillette Stadium becomes a bit of a proving ground for the Revs on Sunday afternoon. Back-to-back shutout wins over the Houston Dynamo and Toronto FC have the Revs trending upward, but the chance to test themselves against the two-time defending champions – in front of a national television audience on NBC Sports Network, no less – raises the bar.
“We’ve gotten some results recently and we want to show the league that we’re here to play, we want to be in the playoffs this year and we want to make our run,” said goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. “I definitely think this is a good opportunity for us to make a statement and show we’re legit this year.”