The LA Galaxy traveled to Toyota Park in suburban Bridgeview, Illinois to battle with the host Chicago Fire in what would be one of two matches the two cities would play against one another Sunday.
In front of a crowd of 17,487 at home, the Men in Red struck first against the visitors with high-profile names such as Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. Jeff Larentowicz’s 68th minute penalty kick goal gave the Fire a 1-0 lead in the second half, but it only took six minutes before Donovan found the back of the net to level the match.
Donovan’s goal was assisted by former Fire midfielder Robbie Rogers. Rogers, who never played a match with the Fire before his short-lived retirement, has entered the match in the 43rd minute in place of former Fire defender Dan Gargan. The draw left the Fire at 2-3-7 and ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Fire will travel to Colorado to play the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City Wednesday, and will conclude the team’s pre-World Cup schedule at home against Seattle Sounders FC Saturday.
With the first match between the nation’s second and third largest cities left indecisive, the Blackhawks and the Kings battled for Western Conference supremacy at the United Center later in the evening in a winner-take-all seventh game. The Blackhawks held a 2-0 lead in the first period before the Kings rallied to tie the game at two a piece. The Hawks took the lead again on Patrick Sharp’s first goal of the night before the period came to close. Sharp would again give the Blackhawks the lead in the second period, this time to make it 4-3, but the Kings rallied to tie the game in the third, sending the decisive game to overtime. Alec Martinez scored 5:47 into the overtime to send the Kings to their second Stanley Cup Finals in three years and ending the Blackhawks’ quest to be the first repeat champions since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings.
Hawks fans should not be ashamed of the team’s failure to reach the ultimate goal. Instead, fans should take pride in the fact that a franchise that less than a decade ago was named the worst in professional sports has added two championships and four conference finals appearances in the past six seasons. It simply is not feasible to expect to win the Stanley Cup every year. The Hawks made an excellent run, battling back from down 2-0 to St. Louis, downing a resilient Minnesota side and coming back from down 3-1 in the series to Los Angeles and bringing the seventh game all the way to overtime before falling short. Regardless of Sunday’s result, the Blackhawks are still in the midst of the most successful period in the Original Six team’s history, and one must credit Los Angeles for being able to match a team that is simply unwilling to lose. After one of the greatest series in recent memory, it is time to bid farewell to the 2013-14 Chicago Blackhawks.