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CARSON, California (Reuters) - L.A. Galaxy's marketing campaign for the MLS playoffs was 'First to Five' and by securing the record fifth title they created another 'First to Five' as New England Revolution suffered their fifth loss in as many MLS Cups.
Coach Jay Heaps needs no reminders of that record having played in the four previous losses, including missing the decisive penalty in a shootout loss to Houston in 2006.
While he remained upbeat in his post-match analysis, his players gave more of a glimpse of the impact of the loss.
"It's like someone just took a baseball bat to my gut," striker Charlie Davies said.
The Revolution came back from a goal down to force extra-time thanks to a Chris Tierney strike in the 79th minute but were undone by a Robbie Keane winner for L.A in the 111th minute.
"It hurts a little more because I thought we were going to win," forward Teal Bunbury added.
"We had 10 to 12 minutes left and I had a feeling we were going to win this whole thing but credit to LA, a great team, and they had a great game."
New England have played some entertaining soccer during the playoffs but their main creative threat, Lee Nguyen was neutralized and they struggled to reproduce the smart passing soccer that characterized their run to the final game.
Three of those five losses in the championship-deciding game have come against the Galaxy but Heaps said there was no question of his team over-respecting L.A.
"I am proud of the guys. I think there's a real competitiveness in there and a real willingness to lay it all on the line and be aggressive. I thought we were the aggressor today a lot of the time," he said.
"Of course they've got great players and they deserve everything. No one gave us a chance and I thought our guys rallied around that and we were pretty good on the day."
Editing by John O'Brien