Occidental students, led by Dean of the College Jorge Gonzalez and his wife Susie Gonzalez, witnessed a historic night for American soccer at the StubHub Center on Sunday when the Los Angeles Galaxy hosted the Seattle Sounders.
United States National Team star Landon Donovan stepped onto the field for his 333rd Major League Soccer (MLS) match and final regular season home game of his career. But this was not the only major storyline of the night, as the Galaxy and the Sounders were competing for the top of MLS standings.
The game was the first leg of a season-ending doubleheader that will determine the winner of the Supporters Shield, which is awarded to the top finisher in the MLS regular season standings. But instead of deciding the Shield winner, the game ended in a 2-2 draw, meaning the two teams will face off once again in Seattle on Oct. 25.
Dean Gonzalez is a Mexican national team and Club de Fútbol Monterrey fan, who flew last-minute to see Mexico win the Olympic gold medal in London in 2012. He claims to schedule his meetings around the Monterrey matches and has attended seven World Cups, including this summer’s in Brazil. In bringing students to games like Sunday’s, he hopes to spread his love for the game and help students get off campus.
“It is great to see Oxy students out enjoying what LA has to offer,” Gonzalez said.
Occidental soccer team member and a resident advisor Munraj Singh (junior) was a co-organizer of the event and enjoyed sharing his passion for soccer with his fellow Tigers.
“It was a great night,” Singh said. “It was a wonderful experience to have Dean Gonzalez and his wife there. I think we all bonded over soccer and it was great to meet other residents who share the same love for the game.”
The game itself did not disappoint. The two squads remained deadlocked throughout the match at nil-nil until the late moments of the first half. With a minute left, a clearance from the Sounders defense left Los Angeles’s Baggio Husidic with an open look, which he burried in the bottom right corner. After the break, the Galaxy struck on a failed clearance of a Donovan corner kick, with Husidic cleverly touching the ball to the Brazilian Marcelo Sarvas, who struck it into the top left corner.
The Sounders strapped on their rally caps after supersub Marco Pappa entered the game in the 66th minute. Three minutes later, DeAndre Yedlin took on Donovan down the right flank and whipped in a cross, which was touched by MLS MVP candidate Obafemi Martins and buried by Clint Dempsey. Three minutes later, Martins played a diagonal through ball to Lamar Neagle, who struck it past the keeper’s outstretched foot to tie the match.
In an emotional end to the night, Donovan took to the field to accept cheers and a painting honoring his Galaxy legacy. Donovan is most often remembered for his international performances for the USA team, but his contribution to the MLS helped launch its increasing popularity. Donovan will leave the league with 144 goals, 136 assists and 5 league titles, which ranks him in first place in the MLS all-time standings in all three categories.
No matter which team they rooted for, the Occidental soccer community enjoyed a historic night.
“Everyone leaves happy,” Susie Gonzalez said.