Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy, as it turns out, did not clinch the Major Soccer Supporters Shield on Saturday, but they do have a chance to do so on Tuesday against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
The match was postponed due to a certain hurricane named Irene. Well, there is certain to be another hurricane coming towards Harrison in the form of MLS's best team at the moment.
For the Galaxy, they are playing with guns blazing, flying on the wings of a five-match win streak in all competitions. Landon Donovan leads the team in goals with 12, while midfielder David Beckham paces the G's in assists with 14.
“We’ve won in all kinds of ways this year and it’s really important,” Donovan told MLSSoccer.com's Luis Bueno on Saturday after their 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. “Come the last [CONCACAF Champions League] game against Motagua or the playoffs, if you go down a goal, you need to know how to win games.
"It would have been wholly unjust if we didn’t get something out of that game. Credit to our guys for persevering and getting a great result.”
“We’ve been 1-0 down in the first half,” Beckham added. “We came in here and it was disappointing, but we knew we were playing well, we knew that we were passing the ball around well, and we knew that we’d get chances. It was just about putting them away. Our character showed.”
One guarantee tonight: there will be no Robbie Keane due to international commitments.
A couple other question marks: Donovan may or may not be available due to national team duty against Honduras and Ecuador, and Beckham's back issues also make him a game time decision on Tuesday.
From the perspective of this Featured Columnist, Arena is likely to field a squad similar to that which showed up against Columbus to take a 1-0 victory on the road.
Obviously the home support want to see Beckham and Henry duke it out just like in the Premier League, but no one can have it his or her own way.
Speaking of the Red Bulls, it has been nothing short of a disastrous season for a side filled with star power, but little to show for it.
New York are currently 8-7-16 (40 points) and have only won two out of their last five matches. In their last match, the Red Bulls drew 1-1 with Toronto FC at BMO Field.
Thierry Henry, the team's leading goal scorer with 13, was responsible for sparing the Bulls some red blushes in the 88th minute of play.
Luke Rodgers and Joel Lindpere are New York's other top weapons on offense. Rodgers has eight goals on the year, while Lindpere has seven on the year to go with seven assists, good for the team lead with Dane Richards.
Another provider for the Red Bulls' attack is Jan Gunnar Solli, who has six assists this season.
Frank Rost has proven to be a very culpable keeper and has not proven to be the breakthrough netminder the Red Bulls FO were hoping form. Rost has a 1.60 goals against average, 16 saves and an abysmal 57 percent save rate on the year.
On the other hand, Rost's counterpart, Josh Saunders, has been nothing but breakthrough. Saunders has a 0.99 GAA, 51 saves and a 75 percent save percentage.
Defensively for New York, Solli, Stephen Keel, Rafa Marquez and Roy Miller must hold LA's attack at bay.
Even though Keane will not be playing, and both Donovan and Beckham may also see limited time if ever, they do have to mind Chad Barrett, Juninho and Mike Magee. Together, all three have contributed 15 goals to the Galaxy's cause.
All in all, Los Angeles knows that they will complete the defense with a victory. They can choose to wait until the Honda Superclasico tie with Chivas USA, or they can elect to cut the suspense and get to business.
“It would have been nice to [claim the Shield on Saturday],” Donovan said. “If we win in New York, we’re there. We’re close, but we’re not there yet.”
On Tuesday, LA should choose the latter of the two options in a tale of two cities.
Los Angeles Galaxy 2, Red Bull New York 1
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.