Monday, November 14, 2005

Los Angeles Galaxy 2005 MLS Cup Champions!

First I need to thank Scott, without whom I still wouldn't be paying much attention to soccer other than the World Cup every 4 years. Now I know all about the MLS, the English Premiership and I know teams and players, formats for playoffs in various international leagues and other things. I still have a ton to learn about leagues in the Americas outside the United States and other European Leagues and how they play together for the Champions League Championship.

It started with Scott mentioning his love for Arsenal of the EPL and the Galaxy in the MLS. I started doing research on my own of the EPL and the team that eventually called to me was a team that wasn't at the Premiere level. It's the Norwich City Canaries of the Coca-Cola Champioship Legue (one level below the EPL). My family history runs through Norfolk and Norwich in particular. We had some religious affiliations there with our ancestors. Something high enough to have been granted arms at some point. Of course that line turned off so the right to arms in our family has died but my love for Norfolk has grown.

September 4, 2005 Scott took me to my first live MLS match in Los Angeles at the beautiful Home Depot Center. Great soccer-only stadium. The Galaxy lost to the Chicago Fire 2-1 that day but I learned some of the players and my love for them grew.

I followed them through the rest of the season, culminating in the last match of the regular season which was a really disappointing 3-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. We did see a heart-stoppingly pretty goal by De Rosario. He got a free kick just outside the box on the far right side. The Galaxy defense built a wall of players and De Rosario's kick went just over them and bent right into the upper right hand corner of the net. Sadness ensued but I just have to respect that kick. What a goal.

That set the Galaxy up for an opening round contest with San Jose who were 18-4-10 this year and led the MLS in points by far. For those unfamiliar, the opening round is two games. One at home and one on the road. The team that scores the most goals over the course of those two games wins. The Galaxy went up 3-1 in the first match and then held the Earthquakes to a 1-1 tie in the second, leading to an aggregate 4-2 victory. They then went on to defeat Colorado in a one-match Western Conference final and defeating them 2-0 in a wonderful game.

That set the Galaxy in the MLS Cup for a match with New England Revolution for the big trophy. The Revolution had a great record themselves this year, being 2nd in points with a 17-7-8 record in the regular season. The game had TEN yellow cards, countless great shots and great saves, breakaways, great physical play, aggressive action and it all played out to a 0-0 tie at the end of regulation. "El Pando" Ramirez was brought in as a substitution and near the end of the 1st half of OT he scored off a corner kick from Landon Donovan which was deflected off the fist of the Rev's keeper Reis and right to Pando who pushed it home. The Galaxy held onto the ball well the last 15 minutes and won the Cup. First since 2002.

Now...Canaries...when will the board dump the donut? Will Huckerby and Ashton be willing to stay with a club that continues to struggle after being relegated last year? C'mon! Let's be 'avin you!


At 5:17 AM , Blogger SRA said...

Congratulations...I think?? hehe ~~


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