The on-field battles between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls include some of MLS' marquee names, but the off-field war of words between Landon Donovan and Luke Rodgers is arguably just as entertaining.
After their regular-season meeting in May, Donovan was criticized by Rodgers for complaining to officials too much and failing to shake Thierry Henry's hand after the game. Donovan responded to those remarks with a subtle "I'm confused, who is Luke Rogers?" tweet.
Following a chippy Western Conference semifinal first leg that ended with Rafa Marquez throwing the ball at Donovan after the final whistle and a postgame skirmish breaking out, Donovan told reporters, "In all my years in this league I've never played against a cheaper team, and they've been doing it all year."
A couple of days later, Rodgers has his response.
"We're not a cheap team," Rodgers said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. "If calling a team cheap is the will to win and tackling and putting everything into the game, I don't call it a cheap team."
After defending his side, Rodgers made sure to include a little dig at the Galaxy, as well.
"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," Rodgers said. "A lot of their players were doing the same things."
Rodgers referred to hard tackling throughout the match and he specifically mentioned a gash on New York left back Roy Miller's leg that was the result of a challenge from David Beckham. Nevertheless, Rodgers did not make excuses one way or another, instead just calling the physical style and trash talking part of playoff soccer.
"No one's moaning here," Rodgers said. "I don't understand why everyone's complaining. I personally just think it's part of the game. I don't think anyone expects two big teams with players that really want to win just have it be a really pretty game and shake hands after the game. Certain things will get said. In my eyes, it's part of football."
The two teams meet Thursday night at the Home Depot Center with the Galaxy nursing a 1-0 aggregate lead.
What do you make of Rodgers' comments? How do you see Thursday night's match playing out?
Share your thoughts below.