It's a cruel irony, in the case of Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy, that the two teams that close out the 2010 regular season are not only the teams that they suffered their last defeats to, but are the same opponents that will be clashing at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for the 2010 MLS Cup.
The third time was the charm for Schellas Hyndman's FC Dallas to make their first-ever MLS Cup appearance with an emphatic 3-0 victory over the Galaxy before 27,000 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
What a disastrous display, Bruce Arena. I swore you were ready for this.
And I sure that a certain MLSSoccer.com columnist by the name of Simon Borg (more on him in a bit)—in spite of all the hate he has received from bastions of fans on BigSoccer and maybe elsewhere—was exonerated tonight.
And I mean exonerated. This is a performance that has to make the Hoops the favorite to win the Anschutz.
I can't see how David Ferreira—who probably deserves league MVP after this performance—and the rest of FC Dallas can't silence the Colorado Rapids up in the frozen north next Sunday.
A matter of great speed, great pace and excellent ball movement was all it took for FC Dallas to silence the doubters and throw themselves at the forefront of history.
Getting a goal against the run of play, utilizing the counterattack and the transition in the 4-5-1 system (which Bruce Arena may want to try using one of these days), and jamming the midfield is how FC Dallas will stymie Colorado. It was beautiful football from the hoops.
And this is also a nod to parity in Major League Soccer.
I tell you: MLS may be the most parity-infested league in the world. It's not like it was in the old days of the 90's, when it was DC United on top of everybody else. Now anyone can beat anyone on their day or night.
This is not the Premier League, where there are a select handful of legit contenders in your Chelseas and Manchester Uniteds and Liverpools and Arsenals of the world that can get their hands on that 30" x 17" x 9.8" hunk of hardware.
Because of the parity that distinguishes Major League Soccer from other competitive leagues around the world, we now have two sides that have a shot at gaining their first star to their crest.
I don't understand why the Galaxy did not show up for this contest. They couldn't finish, they couldn't solve El Gato, whom you all know as Kevin Hartman, LA's original Big Cat, and their defending was a babyshambles.
Whenver you have fringe players like Marvin Chavez and George John scoring, it's not gonna be your night if you are FC Dallas's opposition.
Mike Magee probably should take the biggest blame for the lack of execution down at Victoria Street on Sunday. He was horrible, didn't have any confidence on the ball, and stunk to high heaven when it came to running the sequences in Arena's 4-4-2 diamond system.
In fact, the Galaxy FO, if they know what's good for them, should not protect Magee for the upcoming Expansion Draft. Portland or Vancouver, you can have him; we don't need him.
Juninho needs to come back to the Galaxy for the long haul. This young Brazilian from Sao Paulo's got potential to be a star, but he couldn't execute and just didn't have the right shot selection in a match that probably asked a little too much.
If Edson Buddle is to replicate the production he had this year, he has to avoid getting manhandled. The Galaxy need to find another forward in the SuperDraft who can take some of the slack off the American Pele.
It didn't look like this was going to be his night.
David Beckham has to work on his fitness. He's still in preseason mode and probably won't be back in season mode until next season starts.
Landon Donovan had a fair performance but should have kept the intensity that he maintained earlier this season. Could have used it.
And finally, the Galaxy back line showed why they are the unit I have called out all season. Terrible breakdown against the Hoops.
I swore I was seeing a group of clowns with the speed of tree trunks posing as the back four of Los Angeles. It was a joke of an effort, and Ferreira, John and Chavez exploited those weaknesses to perfection.
This was a dog and pony show for the Los Angeles Galaxy tonight against FC Dallas. Make no mistake about it. It was a disgraceful way to end their MLS Cup campaign.
And now, would you believe it: here comes another dog and pony show in the form of a meaningless friendly against the Newcastle United Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia to close out the calendar year of games.
I have to be wondering if a certain Branko Čulina is studying Hyndman's tactics and perhaps ingraining it into the players for this match.
And the other question I am wondering is: will the Galaxy even bother to show up, let alone win?
Kickoff for the Galaxy vs. Newcastle Jets is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. AEST/12:30 a.m. PT/3:30 a.m. ET.
INS & OUTS
Simon Borg...well done, that man
Met up with Simon Borg, MLSSoccer.com columnist at the FC Dallas match. He was following tabs next to me in the press box. "People don't understand how good FC Dallas is," he says when I noted that he is a supporter of the Hoops.
Now I don't dislike Simon, but I was quick to note that on BigSoccer, he's made his own share of enemies from Los Angeles, Columbus, Chicago, and several other fan bases and individuals. Borg told me that this was all a way to get MLSSoccer.com some reputation.
There's always the adage "Haters Gonna Hate," but I take it this way, when you have your share of detractors, you know you're doing a good job. Simon agrees. The exonerated Simon Borg of MLSSoccer.com.
Well done, that man.