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Please note Columnist Ed's ironic lead-in as you read the second article featured in farlieonfootie's football double-header today:
Yes, I did watch the MLS finals between the LA Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo. I watched because unlike some of the slough around here at FOF, I’m a pro’s pro. So here’s what I have to say.
1. Lando is the Man. The best US soccer player in US soccer history proved yet again that he is, well, the best US soccer player in US soccer history. His goal came from a calm chip over the keeper’s shoulder, and his runs were always decisive and well played. It also meant a lot to him. Lando criticized Beckham with some vigor some time ago, but perhaps this criticism was needed to get Beckham to understand that at least for the players at the Galaxy, winning the cup was no joke. We probably have only three or so more years to enjoy Donovan at the top of his game, and it’s time to appreciate all he’s done for American soccer.
2. MLS v. EPL. Well, that’s not a very fair comparison, as the EPL may be the best league in the world right now. That said, Beckham and Robbie Keane – two past their prime players who are probably less than EPL players right now – looked to be considerably better than everyone else out there except Donovan. I like Keane, despite the fact that when he runs he seems to have a few extra moving parts, but he hasn’t looked that dangerous in the EPL for years. And Beckham is just too darn slow these days, but despite that he was plenty effective against Houston.
3. The Kiss. Sadly, you just don’t see many kisses in professional sports. However, after Donovan put in the goal off a great pass from Robbie Keane, he jumped on the Irishman and give him a nice smooch in the temple. It was very un-American, but hey, I’m down with it anyhow. In fact, I’m going to give old FOF a smooch on the top of his balding head next time I see him.
Ching. I remember seeing Ching start at striker for the US national team. I was always unimpressed but presumed he must be awesome in the MLS. Well here’s the deal: he’s not. I saw he was starting and that’s pretty much the last time I heard his name called. Absolutely no presence. Nothing. Nada.
5. Gonzalez. Houston was missing their best player from the game, but it was still somewhat surprising to me that they never looked competitive. Their offense never got a good shot, and they were closed down routinely in the game. All of this may be due to Gonzalez, the Galaxy’s American central defender, who was pretty much the only other person on the Galaxy that I could remember and that’s because he was pretty much the only other person on the Galaxy that I thought looked good. Gonzalez is young, but he’s got to be at leat as good as Tim Ream, right? So call him up again and throw him out there, Jurgen!
6. Arena. I’ve always found Bruce Arena to be an annoying human being. He reminded me too much of all of the incompetent American soccer coaches that I had in my youth. But you know what, I must be wrong. His team played pretty well and got it done, something some other managers at Galaxy haven’t done. So I reluctantly have to give him some credit. But he’s still annoying.
7. Alexi Lalas. Ugh! The team of analysts for the pre-game, half-time, and post game shows were awful. They bicker more than they provide insights. Alexi Lalas is pretty much the Bill Walton of soccer coverage – a somewhat imbalanced blind squirrel that every once in a while stumbles into a nut by pure chance. Please ESPN, I beg you, send him home. And just have Warren Barton handle it all. Problem solved.
8. Becks. Is he staying in the US? Is he leaving? Well, I don’t have any insight into that. All I know is he finally got the title he was looking for to make the trip worth it. But Becks appears to be an old 33 to me, so I’m not sure where he can succeed other than the MLS. We’ll see.
. Pumpkin Pie. On an unrelated note, I heard the other day that there are these people who don’t believe in God. Clearly they’ve never had a piece of pumpkin pie. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! This is farlieonfootie for November 22.