Allow me to open this envelope and bring you great news. Ahem. The winner of of the 2011 Major League Soccer Supporters' Shield is...three letters.
TBA. To Be Announced.
What? To Be Announced? As I rip this envelope to shreds, I would like to take this time to inform you that the race for the MLS Supporters Shield is not over.
Hans Backe's New York Red Bulls will go down as the Challenger of Record for Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy. If there was one team that knows how to get a positive result and stay unbeaten in the regular season against LA...it's the Red Bulls.
What's all this talk about New York being a team in complete and utter disarray? What is that? That is all hogwash. Lies. Trash. Rubbish. The type of jumped conclusion that deserves to be killed with fire.
No, I'm not talking about Chicago, that's U.S. Open Cup, a different story altogether.
But New York's top scorers provided the heat. Luke Rodgers opened the scoring in the 31st minute and Thierry Henry closed the deal at the hour mark to give the Red Bulls a breakthrough 2-0 victory over the Galaxy at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
So yes, spending big can work against the league leaders...yes, it can, when league leaders are watered down due to international duty, injury and poor deliveries from David Beckham.
Chad Barrett was perhaps the player that deserves a lot of stick tonight. The forward could not get a good look, and his finishing was nothing short of terrible. Barrett is a player that has been on and off his game, and Tuesday night happened to be an off night.
But the player on the Galaxy first XI that did not make a very good impression was Donovan Ricketts. Coming back from injury is very tough, and the Big Cat from Montego Bay lost his meow early and often.
In all honesty, this should have been the most lopsided defeat suffered by the Galaxy. But Henry and Rodgers each saw a clear attempt on goal hit the woodwork.
Henry was so incensed by his miss in the second half that he kicked the electronic signboards in disgust.
For the likes of Rafael Marquez, perhaps this result will shut his mouth for a while. The Manny Ramirez of Major League Soccer, Marquez did much better in his position and was responsible for setting up the Henry goal in the second half.
It was very clear, though, that Los Angeles was missing Landon Donovan, who suffered an injury against Real Salt Lake, and Robbie Keane, who was away on international duty for the Republic of Ireland and their Euro 2012 aspirations.
Actually, if Donovan was healthy, he would not be available for the Galaxy match anyway. But that's a different story.
So now the possibility of Los Angeles having a late-season collapse has to be considered. The pressure is on Sigi Schmid's Sounders to win out the rest of their league matches and hope for LA to not get any more victories.
But with a number of players getting some rest and time to heal, the race for the Supporters' Shield could come down to either Seattle's tie with the Philadelphia Union this Saturday, or the Honda Superclasico with Chivas USA.
Actually, if the Sounders get the job done against Philly, then the SuperClasico tie takes on added importance. For the time being, everyone in Los Angeles donning Galaxy blue and gold will hope that the Union get their Doop on at CenturyLink Field.
Kickoff between Chivas USA and the Los Angeles Galaxy is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes.