Galaxy leans on Donovan

By wire services
Published November 13, 2005

FRISCO, Texas - Despite their mediocre regular-season record, some tough matchups and the league MVP being on the other team, Los Angeles Galaxy players and coaches feel pretty good about their chances of winning the MLS Cup today.

After all, they've got Landon Donovan.

A two-time Cup winner and the top postseason scorer in the league's 10-year history, Donovan has helped the Galaxy overcome the ups and downs of a .500 season to reach the finals against the New England Revolution.

"When the playoffs come around, there's an extra burden on him to step up and he always does," Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said Saturday. "I don't think there's anyone else in the league that you'd rather have to go out there and get a goal for you. It's great that he's on our team."

Donovan has scored 14 career playoff goals, with four coming in three games this postseason. Los Angeles has given up two goals this postseason. All told, it's a pretty good indication the Galaxy are peaking at the right time.

"Hopefully we're not at the peak," Donovan said, smiling. "Hopefully we have a couple hundred meters to go, then we'll be there."

U.S. 1, SCOTLAND 1: Testing players for next year's World Cup, the United States tied host Scotland behind a ninth-minute penalty kick by Josh Wolff in the Americans' final game of 2005.

The Americans, who will be appearing in a fifth straight World Cup in Germany, finished the year 13-3-4, setting a record for wins.

WORLD CUP: The Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland and Uruguay took a big step toward qualifying for next year's World Cup finals by winning playoff games. Vladimir Smicer scored the lone goal in the Czech Republic's 1-0 victory over host Norway, while the Swiss topped 2002 semifinalist Turkey 2-0, Spain beat Slovakia 5-1 and Uruguay edged Australia 1-0 - all in the first game of two-game playoff series.

TENNIS: Pierce reaches final

Mary Pierce edged top-ranked Lindsay Davenport 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-6) in a WTA Championships semifinal in Los Angeles.

Pierce is undefeated in four matches at the season-ending tournament, including a three-set win over No. 2 Kim Clijsters in the round-robin portion. She advanced to today's final against Amelie Mauresmo, who beat mistake-prone defending champion Maria Sharapova 7-6 (7-1), 6-3. ET CETERA

HORSE RACING: Who's Crying Now edged Supervisor to win by a head in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic, one of eight races in the Florida Million at Calder Race Course in Miami. Other winners were American Miss in the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap; Revved Up in the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup; Weigelia in the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint; Peach Flambe in the $150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies; Electrify in the $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile; and Mr. Silver in the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf. After a disqualification, Survicat and Good Intentions were declared the winners of the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf.

SPEEDSKATING: Ahn Hyun-soo of South Korea edged Eric Bedard and Apolo Anton Ohno, finishing in 41.994 seconds to win the men's 500-meter short track race in Bormio, Italy. Wang Meng of China won the women's final in 44.070.

TRACK: U.S. sprinter Torri Edwards was reinstated by the sport's ruling body before the completion of her two-year doping suspension.

WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Hayley Wickenheiser had two goals and an assist in Canada's 7-0 victory over the United States to win a pre-Olympic test tournament in Turin, Italy.