The season ended weeks ago for most of us Sounders fans. It feels even longer since the league scheduled the MLS Cup after the international break. However, the real end of the season is nigh as the Los Angeles Galaxy take on the Houston Dynamo this weekend. I'm expecting an entertaining, if decidedly one-sided match-up this weekend.
The cards are all in the Galaxy's favor from playing at home to having all three big stars healthy and rested. Of course, Bruce Arena denies that favorites exist in soccer. Still, despite that sentiment, the Galaxy players and coaches will certainly be feeling to pressure to produce a Cup after bringing in so many high priced stars (and one who's likely to leave after the season). Also, Arena will be battling Dominic Kinnear to become the first coach with three MLS titles (or five you count the battling Scot's wins as an assistant coach).
I don't want to take anything away from the Dynamo and their season. They're a well coached team who are hitting a hot spot after finally deciding to stick Geoff Cameron permanently at center-back. Tally Hall is an amazing young keeper and Brian Ching is one of my favorite non-Sounders in MLS when he's healthy. However, the loss of their team MVP and SB Nation MVP in Brad Davis is a major, major blow. There's no area on the pitch where I give the edge to the Dynamo (unlike Zach Woosley over at Dynamo Theory). They're giant underdogs in this one and, as such, I'll be rooting for them.
More news after the jump:
Barrett Out for the Final: Big Galaxy target forward Chad Barrett will miss the MLS Cup final due to a dislocated ankle suffered in training. Barrett is the team's second leading scorer and assist man thanks in large part on his ability to get on the end of a Beckham cross (which I'm sure he learned from Mike Magee). The loss shouldn't effect the Galaxy too much as they have the equally big Adam Cristman to fill in.
Galaxy Score Big TV Contract: The years of AEG funding the league look like they're finally starting to pay off with some big TV contracts. Time Warner has agreed to pay $55 million over 10 years for the right to broadcast Galaxy games in English and Spanish. That's just $2 million less than Fox Soccer Channel paid for national rights to broadcast MLS during the 2011 season.
USA Score a Win: Thankfully, the U.S. managed to notch up a decent win against a good team in Slovenia. It should help keep the pressure of the team and coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Under Klinsy the offense has seemed uncomfortable and unable to make Klinsy's preferred style of attacking soccer work. That combined with some questionable call-ups in players like Robbie Rogers and Michael Orozco Fiscal have had many fans wondering about the direction of the team.
Stars Call on Blatter to Step Down: FIFA President Sepp Blatter has done it again. In a recent interview, the corrupt gaff machine indicated that no racism existed in soccer and if it did that is was best handled in the post-game handshake. Because if they don't shake hands they don't get orange slices and juice boxes. Predictably, some of the leading figures in the soccer world are coming out against the remarks.
Heaps Named Revolution Coach: Former New England Revolution defender Jay Heaps will give up his gig as the Revolution color commentator to take the coaching mantle for 2012. I'm ecstatic Heaps will no longer be assaulting my ears with half-thought homerisms when I'm watching a Revolution game on Match Day Live. However, I wonder how well suited he is for the head coaching job since his two gigs after leaving the game are color commentary and investment advising for Morgan Stanley.
Ginja Ninja Bolton: The Colorado Rapids Ginja Ninja Jeff Larentowicz will be traveling to Bolton for a short training stint. Once again it was Jurgen Klinsmann who arranged things. Larentowicz is in his prime playing age and would probably relish the opportunity to make a move abroad. Other players with new training stints abroad include Kyle Beckerman, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson, Omar Salgado, Juan Agudelo, and Perry Kitchen (more here).
Australia Learning From MLS: Way down South there's a giant country where football (Aussie Rules Football) is king and the a young soccer league is trying to garner the attention of the nation's fanatical fans. The A-League has invited the Galaxy down for a friendly, but more importantly, they're looking to MLS as the model on how to grow the sport down under.