The MLS Cup kicks off in a couple of hours and the question is, will David Beckham ride off into the sunset with a second consecutive MLS Cup in his saddlebags, or will the Houston Dynamo play the bad guy and ruin a perfect Hollywood ending.
Landon Donovan has provided an interesting subplot, with his future a cause for concern for fans of both the Galaxy and the U.S. national team. With so much drama surrounding the defending champions, little notice has been taken of their opponents, not that Houston seems to mind.
Houston were missing ace playmaker Brad Davis in last season’s final, an absence that got lost in the aftermath of L.A.’s dominant victory. Although the score was just 1-0, the Galaxy looked streets ahead of Houston in 2011, but it may not be so easy this time around.
Dominic Kinnear’s team withstood the loss of their best player, Geoff Cameron, when he headed to England and Stoke in the middle of the Dynamo season. Bobby Boswell and Jermaine Taylor have done the business in front of Houston’s fine goalkeeper Tally Hall, and Ricardo Clark is playing like Bob Bradley thought he would in South Africa.
But the man who has put the Dynamo in this formerly plodding Houston team has been Boniek Garcia. The Honduran DP has given Houston a spark of creativity and speed that it had so badly lacked. Suddenly Brad Davis has someone to play off of, and Caleb Carr’s speed becomes so much more dangerous.
Will Bruin is in good goal scoring form, and could trouble a Galaxy back-line, that is a little off right now. And Josh Saunders can be a bit uncertain in the Galaxy net. While he was good enough to backstop L.A.’s title run last year, he can can be unconvincing at times.
None of this to say that the Galaxy cannot win, In fact they should win. Robbie Keane has been electric, Juninho and the rest of the supporting cast have been solid. Mike Magee is liable to pop up with a goal, and the Galaxy are the defending champions playing at home.
And at the center of it all are David Beckham and Landon Donovan. Beckham, who came here with such fanfare six years ago, and Donovan who has always been here, even when so many of his own fans wanted to go, and stay, and prove himself in Europe.
We know Beckham won’t be back, he’s told us that. What we don’t know is where he will end up. As for Donovan, no one seems to know what is next for the best soccer player America has yet to produce.
There is a lot for Houston to overcome, and I suspect it is too much. We don’t where they will turn up next, but look for Donovan and Beckham to stay on script, and for L.A. to give Beckham the Hollywood ending to his Galaxy career