Sunday, November 13, 2005

LA Galaxy vs. New England Revolution - MLS Cup time

Just about an hour to go before the tenth MLS Cup begins and this one is shaping up to be on of the best. The game is going to be played in brand new Pizza Hut Park, home of FC Dallas. Weather conditions look to be great with the temperature hovering around 76 at kickoff.

The Galaxy will be looking to Landon Donovan to make the domestic double happen. LA has some depth, but if Donovan is not performing at the top of his game, they will not be winning today. That is where New England's Shalrie Joseph comes in. He and the Rev's backline must disrupt Donovan's flow. However, they will also have to watch out for Herculez Gomez who often punishes opponents for spending too much time looking at Landon. This might just keep Matt Reis busy in NE's goal.

For the Revolution, they will need Taylor Twellman to show why he is the league's MVP. Twellman has not been as noticeable over the last few games, so he will need to right whatever is wrong. Thankfully for the Revs, they have Pat Noonan and Clint Dempsey ready to pickup any slack by Taylor. However, Twellman seems to be a good clutch player, so look for him to awaken with a furry. This should prove an interesting test for the always-shaky LA backline. Chris Albright will have to maintain order on the right side if his side is to stay in this thing. If the NE can force goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to save things for the Galaxy, then they will be on good ground. Hartman has a 1.34 gpg average, so he knows how to let things slip by him.

The big worry for New England fans is injuries. They have a lot of them. Look at this list:

Midfielder Marshall Leonard has (left hamstring strain)
Midfielder Khano Smith (questionable - knee)
Midfielder Steve Ralston (questionable - hamstring strain)
Midfielder Andy Dorman (probable - left hamstring strain)
Defender Joe Franchino (probable - chest pain)
Midfielder Daniel Hernandez (probable - plantar fascitis in right foot)

Here is LA's list:
Rookie defender Benjamin Benditson (sports hernia)
Midfielder Marcelo Saragosa (questionable - right adductor strain)
Midfielder Cobi Jones (probable - right abdominal strain)

In addition to all those injuries, NE will be without Avery John who has been called up by Trinidad & Tobago for international duty.

However, even with all these injuries and the media storm that is Donovan, I think New England comes into this match as the favorite. They have, unlike LA, proved again and again this year that they are a great team. The Galaxy have turned it on for the playoffs, however, championships seldom go to late season chargers. These two teams will make for a very good final (maybe with some overtime action), but in the end, I expect to see Noonan, Twellman and Steve Nicol (head coach) raising the MLS Cup over their heads.

Los Angeles 2 - 3 New England

Sunday - 3:30pm EST



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