The MLS Cup occurs on Saturday and will be dominated by the news that it is likely to be David Beckham’s final match for the LA Galaxy. You may have even noticed that I wrote an article about that very matter in last week’s post, but besides the fact that this could be Beckham’s last game and all, there is a serious match on the field for the other 21 players on the same field too. The game will decide the MLS Champions of 2012, and brings especial intensity due to the fact that it is a rematch of last season’s final that the LA Galaxy won 1-0 due to a Landon Donovan goal.
The Galaxy is the heavy favorite for this game. They boast all the big name players including Beckham, Donovan, and Robbie Keane. Also, the match is being played at the Galaxy’s home stadium, the Home Depot Center. Therefore, the Houston Dynamo will have seemingly everything against them in this match, though I personally believe that they will rally around that exact point.
Both teams were lowly seeded in the MLS Playoff tournament, and had to play tricky wildcard matches in the first round. Defeating the likes of Sporting Kansas City, the San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders, and DC United, both teams proved that they were the strongest of their conferences and have earned the right to play in this MLS Cup.
Houston has developed a very powerful team that won back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. Their final appearance last season was evidence of their more recent success, but they had to play that match without the injured Brad Davis. The playmaker earned 12 assists and 8 goals this year and should be a factor if the Dynamo earns the win. The team has a veteran striker in Brian Ching as well.
However, I think the defensive side of this team will be the difference in the game, specifically the goalkeeping of Tally Hall. The keeper is very solid and will be able to stop the likes of Beckham’s spicy shots on the goal.
Many fans will be hoping to witness a final David Beckham “special” free kick that swerves into the net and allows the soccer star to depart the MLS as a MLS Cup winning hero. But, I think it will not happen this time. The Galaxy won the trophy last season, so Beckham has nothing left to prove. Similarly, another of the team’s star players also has a serious off-field concern in Landon Donovan’s voicing of retirement thoughts before the playoffs began. Although that interview did little to prevent the team from pushing through the MLS Playoffs, I do think this game may be a bit too highly anticipated for the team because of reasons other than soccer.
The Houston Dynamo, on the other hand, resembles a real team with hunger for revenge and I would be surprised to see them back down from the challenge. Therefore, I am predicting a tough 1-0 victory for the Dynamo with a David Beckham free kick clanging off the crossbar in stoppage time, preventing him from leaving a last mark on American soccer.