14 November, 2010

MLS Cup final: Colorado vs Dallas

Just watched FC Dallas completely dismantle the LA Galaxy in their MLS semifinal, and I have to say that FC Dallas are the favorites to win next week in their first MLS Cup appearance. We are guaranteed a first-time winner, as Colorado appeared in the MLS Cup final way back in 1997 (MLS Cup 2, if you lost count), but have never won the trophy.

Kevin Hartman was incredible in net for Dallas, and not just because he was playing against his former team. From the start, LA looked like the stronger team, as Mike Magee blasted a volley that Hartman had to fly to save. Then Juninho ripped a point-blank shot on goal that Hartman also saved. Next, Beckham placed a long ball out of midfield perfectly on the head of Edson Buddle. However, Buddle simply did not have any ball control today and his header flew wide of the mark. If not for Kevin Hartman, the score would have been 3-0 for the Galaxy at the 25 minute mark. Los Angeles center back Omar Gonzalez was the best player on the field (goalkeepers excluded) and was breaking up every Dallas play for the first 25 minutes. I think Omar Gonzalez deserves a USMNT call-up, and only was not called up for the South Africa friendly because LA was still alive in the playoffs.

Then Dallas took over from the 26th minute on. Colombian midfielder David Ferreira received the ball from Honduran midfielder Marvin Chavez near the 12 yard spot and split defenders Omar Gonzalez and AJ De La Garza with a sweet turn move. Unmarked, Ferreira blasted a shot into the net that Donovan Ricketts had no chance to reach, to give Dallas a 1-0 lead against the run of play. The Galaxy still looked like the better team, and Landon Donovan got past the Dallas defense to take a shot on goal that was again saved by Hartman.

The second half was all FC Dallas. In the 54th minute, Brek Shea carried the ball to the end line with some nice dribbling for a big man, and crossed beautifully for defender George John, who one-timed the ball past Ricketts to double the Dallas lead. At that point, Landon Donovan and David Beckham seemed to give up and disappeared for the rest of the match. Beckham's long balls no longer found their targets, as if he wasn't trying. Edson Buddle could do nothing with the ball except fail to trap it and cough it up to the defense.

Dallas added a third goal in the 73rd minute, by Marvin Chavez of Honduras, who was about to be replaced with a substitute. Atiba Harris of St. Kitts was offsides, so he stood still and did not participate in the play while David Ferreira of Colombia sent a beautiful through ball right between the Galaxy defenders, who were trying to play an offsides trap. Chavez was clearly onside when the ball was sent forward, but since Harris was in an offside position (NOT participating in any way), David Beckham decided to scream at the referee and the linesman, looking like a fool in the process, because 1) the referee was right, and 2) Beckham wasn't even the captain. Landon Donovan was. Beckham earned a yellow card but mostly just made it seem like he didn't understand the rules of association football. The final score was 3-0, Man of the Match was Kevin Hartman, and if he plays like this in the final, then a week from now, FC Dallas will be holding up their first ever MLS Cup.

I wasn't able to watch the Colorado Rapids/San Jose Earthquakes semifinal, despite having five different Spanish language USA TV channels (Televisa, Azteca America, Univision, Telemundo, and Galavision). So, I have to rely on reports that say the game's only goal was a fluke. Rapids defender Kosuke Kimura of Japan crossed the ball for Jamaican teammate Omar Cummings, but Cummings missed the ball and it inexplicably drifted past Jon Busch (who must have been anticipating a touch by Cummings) into the goal in the 43rd minute. The goal would hold up to send Colorado only to their second MLS final, and first since 1997.

Captain Pablo Mastroeni was pleased to hold up the "Eastern Conference" trophy (the top 8 teams made the playoffs regardless of geography or conference) since he has been in MLS since 1998 and has never appeared in an MLS final. According to, Mastroeni nearly doubled Colorado's lead in the 63rd minute, but Busch pushed his long range shot over the crossbar.

Easy there, Pablo, the real trophy isn't awarded until next week.

And The Professor's opinion is that it will go to FC Dallas.


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