Jonathan Osorio completes the journey from section 113 to hometown hero, as Toronto FC overcome an early deficit to stun the Galaxy only to blow it late in typical TFC style.
Ashtone Morgan may be exhausted and thus, deserves some time off. Unfortunately, if Darel Russell is next off the bench Kevin Payne and Ryan Nelsen aren’t doing enough. Russell’s clearance attempt late in extra time found it’s way to sub Jose Villarreal, who deposited the ball past Joe Bendik with a delicious scissor kick. The kid is going to be a star. Back to Russell though. He was poor throughout and found himself drawing attention from analysts and fans alike for all the wrong reasons.
Four points in four games isn’t the end of the world, but it was looking so much better after Jonathan Osorio’s goal in the 78th minute. The introduction of the Brampton native and Luis Silva looked to be a masterstroke by Nelsen. A superb flick on by Robert Earnshaw gave Silva room to work against Omar Gonzalez one on one. Silva did just enough to get in a ball across the goal mouth, where Osorio got enough to beat Carlo Cudicini. Read the rest of this entry »
David Beckham is kickin’ it in Paris. Robbie Keane is the new LA Galaxy captain. Landon Donovan, the last member of the Los Angeles three, is doing something different. Finding yourself in southeast Asia is a cliche more commonly associated with bored twenty somethings who really liked Danny Boyle’s ‘The Beach’ — great movie. Donovan is hanging out in Cambodia while his team prepares to open the MLS season against the Chicago Fire on Sunday.
We at the Counter Attack feel for Bruce Arians Arena. Not knowing where or what your star player is doing has to be disconcerting. We got you, Bruce. The CA’s crack reporting team has spotted Landon in Cambodia.
For those still not aware, the orange team playing the role of the Washington Generals in Saturday’s MLS Cup was the Houston Dynamo.
It was easy to miss, what with all the hype around a single player on the LA Galaxy who happened to be married to a former pop star. That player—David Beckham, for those living under that infamous rock where like-minded Luddites apparently reside—was playing his last game in MLS and the league didn’t even try to pretend that it cared about much else.
It’s funny. Despite being a league that preaches the value of balanced rosters and forces its clubs into collective meritocracy (MLS prefers to call it parity), MLS sure does fawn over celebrity.
Now, let’s be fair: Beckham was a decent player, especially when surrounded by some quality pieces. However, to suggest that he was the most important piece of the Galaxy, or the most important player in MLS in 2012, is disingenuous.
What he was, and what he’ll be when he takes his road show to Paris, Beijing, Sydney, South London or the Moon, is a marketing machine. This, of course, isn’t news to anyone that has walked the Earth at anytime over the past 20-years. And, unfortunately, it’s through that lens that you must view him and, by extension, the last six years of MLS.
It’s a running gag in Major League Soccer circles: in this league, anything can happen. The league’s stringent single-entity model in which clubs can only spend above their discretionary budgets via the three alloted designated player slots or via the mysterious ‘allocation’ option is supposed to mean anyone can make it in America.
And yet, for the second year running, the LA Galaxy will face Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup final. Not without controversy; Eddie Johnson’s early goal was incorrectly ruled offside in Seattle’s ultimately fruitless 2-1 win over LA in their second leg conference final in which the Galaxy held a 3-0 advantage from the first game.
Still, there was no excusing Seattle’s limp performance in the first leg, nor could one simply explain away LA’s dominance in attack. Over two legs, it was likely the fair result, as has LA’s march to the final in Carson California.
As for Houston, though out-passed and out-possessed by DC United by good margins at RFK (Maicon Santos was particularly effective for DC, in keeping with the former Toronto FC players made good paradigm), held on to a crucial 1-1 draw, which saw them go through on a 3-1 first leg advantage.
And so here we are: an LA team regarded as the crown jewel of the league, and a Houston team that finished 9th overall, two positions lower than in 2011. Both owned by AEG. Whether it’s the phenomenon of “playoff teams” or that wily catch-all—experience—the MLS finals have been remarkably consistent over the years, with LA (8 appearances), DC United (5), New England (4) and Houston (4) all veterans of the cup match.
Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena has repeatedly said striker Robbie Keane was Major League Soccer’s best player for much of the season. But apparently he’s not among the most valuable.
MLS released a list of finalists for its major postseason awards Thursday, and Keane’s name was nowhere to found despite the fact he finished fourth in the league in scoring with 16 goals.
Keane also finished first in something called the Castrol Index, a mathematical formula similar to the NFL’s quarterback rating that measures everything a player does during a game. And he had a goal or assist in 15 of the Galaxy’s final 19 games, leading the team out of the Western Conference cellar to within a game of a second consecutive appearance in the MLS Cup.
This will almost certainly be a humbling experience for the boyhood fan of every single club to have ever existed in this or indeed any other possible universe.