Sunday, November 22, 2009

mls cup 2009

i've been waiting with great anticipation for the mls cup 2009. you see, i am an l.a. galaxy fan, and have been since their inception. i've gone to games when they played in pasadena, and even have been to a mls cup game (we bought tix when it looked like the galaxy would make it but they didn't). the galaxy completed a very good season and played well throughout the playoffs. when they qualified last friday night i was ecstatic. not only was the team i loved capping off a enjoyable year, it was made even better knowing that the team didn't even make the playoffs the last three years.

i started off my day in normal fashion for the average american male, watching american football. i enjoyed the games, but i knew that i was saving up all my nervous energy for the mls cup this evening. i didn't have any plans for the game, other than watching it. as the afternoon wound on i texted some friends and invited them to come over and watch with me. i didn't even think about trying to go to sequoia or hero's or some other sports bar because i doubted i could secure a tv away from sunday night football, even if it was a crap matchup (imho - bears vs eagles). sadly, no one was available so i watched the game by myself. that's fine, i'm focused on the game. i just wouldn't have anyone to shout with on shots or saves, no one to ask questions to when people made terrible passes, and no one to celebrate with should the galaxy win.

as the game was starting, i was impressed by the noise generated by the seattle crowd. what an amazing soccer city seattle has become. honestly, i would love for fresnans to also do things like have a march to the stadium before fuego games. i'd love to see the fuego fans become more passionate, develop chants, or even show up for games. however, it did bug me that they were doing seattle chants. i know you're seattle fans, and it's in seattle, but your team isn't there. pick a team and cheer for them. i don't care if you all choose to chant for real salt lake, just stop cheering for your side that isn't there.

the first half was a bit choppy. the galaxy dominated possession, but there wasn't that much offense generated. however, their possession and play was eventually rewarded by a very nice goal from mike magee. a nice string of passes were finished off by a well place shot. a few minutes later the half ended and the galaxy led 1-0. i was elated.

the second half was a much different affair. real salt lake dominated possession, moved the ball all over, and started putting a olot of balls into the box. on one play, a collision occurred between findley of rsl and the galaxy's keeper, ricketts. it's never good when your goalkeeper's hand is injured, but he pressed on. a few minutes later findley found himself with the ball after a scramble in the box and he slotted it home. ricketts immediately left the field and after he removed his glove you could see how swollen and jacked up it looked. and on came a replacement goalkeeper.

seven minutes of stoppage time. that is a huge amount, but there were several injury stops and substitutions. would we see a winner now, or would we head to added periods? added periods. man, i sat on the edge of the couch for the last twenty minutes of the game (+ stoppage time). that galaxy rallied back, and the play on the field was much more end to end and wide open. it was tense, and neither team could finish it out, so more time to work on my ulcers (or to start one). anything could happen in with another 30 minutes on the clock. who would step up? myself, i feel like the galaxy need to score in the first fifteen. we don't want penalty kicks as rsl has a keeper with a sick knack of blocking pk's. but hey, the back up keeper for the galaxy may be secretly dope.

the majority of the first fifteen minutes were dominated by real salt lake. they put two in the side netting, and both times the galaxy were lucky it wasn't in the back of the net. i felt like the galaxy escaped the first fifteen without surrendering a goal.

both teams looked exhausted in the second overtime period. there were flashes but not a whole lot of sustained offense. real salt lake did have a nice bit of pressure but the galaxy managed to hold them off. with ten seconds left rsl pressed for one more shot, but couldn't quite get a foot on it at the end and the match headed to penalties.

round 1:
beckham vs rimando - beckham scores
mathis vs saunders - mathis scores

round 2:
berhalter vs rimando - berhalter scores
findley vs saunders - findley scores

round 3:
kirovski vs rimando - rimando save - oh crap
beckerman vs saunders - saunders save! freakin yeah!

round 4:
donovan vs rimando - donovan shanks it over the bar.
grababoy vs saunders - grabavoy scores
2-3 rsl

round 5:
magee vs rimando - magee scores
williams vs saunders - saunders save! holy isht, 2 saves from a keeper that doesn't play!

round 6:
klein vs rimando - klein scores
wingert vs saunders - wingert scores

round 7:
buddle vs rimando - rimando saves
russel vs saunders - saunders scores

5-4 real salt lake, your mls cup 09 champs. now, i'm saddened that my team didn't win. but, you gotta love rsl's story. they qualified for the playoffs on the last day in near miraculous fashion. they beat the defending champs in a home/away series. they won last week in pk's and their keeper blocked 3. and this week, they came back from 1-0 to tie and eventually win. their keeper had 2 saves + a shank and they slotted enough home to win. congrats to them.

congrats to the galaxy on an enjoyable season. i hope donovan doesn't have any lingering mental issues from that miss, we've got a world cup to win next summer. and really, they accomplished a lot on the field. maybe next year.

maybe next year i'll watch the final with a crowd as we cheer on the galaxy to a victory.

*cross posted @ wide world of fresno sports.

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