FOXBORO, Mass., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Carlos Ruiz, the league MVP, scored in the 113th minute Sunday to lift the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 1-0 overtime triumph over the New England Revolution and their first MLS Cup title.
The perennial bridesmaids of the MLS Cup, the Galaxy had lost in the championship game three times.
"Right now this is just such a relief to get this monkey off our backs," said Galaxy captain Cobi Jones, an original member of the franchise. "Finally, after seven years, this is one of the peaks in my career."
Ruiz's goal, his 32nd in regular and post-season action in 2002, came off a pass from Tyrone Marshall. Nicknamed "The Little Fish," Ruiz knocked the ball past goalkeeper Adin Brown and inside the right goalpost.
"I missed some chances, but credit the goalkeeper," Ruiz said. "I saw the ball go wide and went immediately to the opposite side. I knew there would be a cross for me because they have come all year. I knew eventually one would make the difference."
"It's a bitter feeling right now, but we had a (heck) of a season," said the 6-5 Brown, who recorded four shutouts during New England's playoff run. "But there's nothing you can do on a play like that except make yourself as big as possible."
Los Angeles has the chance to win both major domestic titles since the Galaxy will play the Columbus Crew on Thursday for the U.S. Open Cup at Crew Stadium.
"This validates what we've done," Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said. "The main thing today was to not get frustrated and let them get a counter. Defensively, we played very well. Don't overlook the job Sasha Victorine did on Steve Ralston.
"When they did attack, we made their service come from guys who normally don't serve the ball."
Both defenses dominated during the early stages. Numerous chances were stalled by New England's Daouda Kante and Los Angeles' Alexi Lalas.
"You bet this one felt like a big match," Revs Coach Steve Nicol said. "It's quite disappointing, but all you can do is stand and look at it in the cold light of day."
Neither premier attacker was allowed much space throughout the match. Ruiz's only other real chance was buried into the side netting in the 17th minute.
Revs striker Taylor Twellman, the MLS scoring champion during the regular season, hardly touched the ball in front of goal.
An MLS Cup-record crowd of 61,316 watched the event at Gillette Stadium. Traffic was backed up for six miles on Route One, preventing thousands of fans from making it to their seats before the kickoff.
"I think the crowd today showed what this season has been all about. We've managed to get people behind us by showing a lot of heart and by playing good soccer," Nichol said. "We're proud to say that the New England Revolution are on the soccer map here in America."