CARSON, California — Although Landon Donovan was grateful for an evening of tributes to his soccer career, his excitement was dampened when the LA Galaxy blew a two-goal lead and the chance to take control of the MLS regular-season race.
So after his celebratory match ended in a draw, Donovan addressed the sellout crowd with a promise.
"I love you guys, and we're still going to win the Cup," Donovan said.
Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle scored three minutes apart in the second half, rallying the Seattle Sounders to a 2-2 tie with the Galaxy on Sunday night and sending the MLS race for the Supporters' Shield down to the final weekend.
Baggio Husidic and Marcelo Sarvas scored for the Galaxy, but the Sounders' comeback means the Supporters' Shield for the best regular-season record will be awarded after Saturday after the season finale between the clubs in Seattle.
The clubs are even atop the MLS standings with 61 points. The Sounders (19-10-4) hold the tiebreaker, and can claim their first MLS regular-season title with a win or tie.
"We leave with a good feeling," Dempsey said. "We get a point, and we go into the final knowing what we need to do to get it."
The Galaxy (17-6-10) spent the evening honoring Donovan, the MLS career scoring leader and five-time champion who will retire after the season. He still felt the evening wasn't complete without a victory.
"I felt tired at the end," Donovan said. "I think it's been a long two weeks for me. I think I wore out as the game went on. I need to now really step back and focus. This has been incredible, but it's time to concentrate on soccer."
The 32-year-old Southern California native has spent the past 10 seasons with the Galaxy. Donovan had his testimonial match with the U.S. national team in Connecticut earlier this month, but this match was a chance for the sellout crowd of 27,244 to pay tribute before the Galaxy's playoff grind.
"The atmosphere was incredible," Donovan said. "I keep using the word 'overwhelming.' Maybe I need to go to college and learn some synonyms, but I can't think of a better word."
The Galaxy honored Donovan with a full array of festivities, including prominent signs and banners all around StubHub Center. Donovan stood with his parents and other family watching a pregame video tribute while Donovan's friend, Five for Fighting singer John Ondrasik, serenaded him at a piano on the field.
Donovan's favorite musical act, Boyz II Men, then sang the national anthem, moving Donovan to tears.
"I certainly dated myself with some of the artists that came out," said Donovan, who didn't know either musical act would be there.
Donovan thrilled the crowd early when his looping header glanced just off the crossbar in the 10th minute. Moments later, the crowd held up thousands of No. 10 placards and chanted Donovan's name throughout the 11th minute of play.
Husidic scored right after first-half injury time began when Sounders captain Brad Evans headed a ball in the box straight to him. Sarvas doubled the lead in the 51st minute when Seattle couldn't clear following a corner kick.
But Dempsey finally scored off setups from Martins and DeAndre Yedlin, and Neagle swiftly evened it with an impressive strike.
"We know that we've got to win or tie (on Saturday), and that will get us into where we want to be," Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. "We know it's still in our own hands, so that's what we want."
Omar Gonzalez was sent off with a second yellow card in the 88th minute after a rough tackle, which means the Galaxy's top defender will miss the match in Seattle. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and defender Robbie Rogers ripped the officiating afterward, including the questionable call against Gonzalez.
"Just the inconsistency of the refereeing is what makes me really mad," Rogers said. "The refs are too emotional. Come on. This is your job. You have to be professional."
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