Kick Off: History not on LA Galaxy's side for MLS Cup run
For a complete rundown of all the action in Week 30 in MLS, check out the Monday Postgame.
So now that they've clinched the Supporters’ Shield, are the LA Galaxy automatically the odds-on favorites to win MLS Cup 2011 at the Home Depot Center on Nov. 20?
The stats may say so, but history does not. Soccer America delves into the numbers: Only a third of Shield winners have taken the Cup.
The Galaxy can thank the Philadelphia Union for helping them secure the title after Philly went into Seattle and dealt the Sounders a 2-0 home defeat to seal the race for the Shield. The turning point of the match? When Seattle’s Brad Evans struck the crossbar, says ex-Sounder Sébastien Le Toux.
Sounders manager Sigi Schmid is philosophical about falling out of the race for the Shield: “You look at who won the MLS Cup last year, Colorado. Did they win the Supporters' Shield? No. Who won MLS Cup the year before? Salt Lake. Did they win Supporters' Shield? No. So maybe winning the Supporters' Shield isn't all that necessary to win the MLS Cup and, at the end of the day, that's our goal."
The Columbus Crew are still hoping to give the East-leading Philadelphia Union a run for their money and they may have an “unexpected reinforcement” to help them in their bid as a talented midfielder makes a surprise return from injury: “There is a big possibility that I am playing this season.”
In case it slipped your radar this weekend: Toronto FC youngster Ashtone Morgan received his first senior cap for Canada by coming off the bench against St. Lucia. Up next: Puerto Rico at BMO Field on Tuesday.
Staying in Canada, it must be nice for new Montreal Impact manager Jesse Marsch to be referred to as a "football god." At the conclusion of the weeklong evaluation camp – better known as a tryout which made one player feel “like a little boy at a trial for a U-12 team” – defender Simon Gatti says: “Whatever happens, happens. It's now up to the football gods to decide our future.”
Gatti thinks a tryout is nerve-wracking? Try a 15-loss MLS season on for size. That’s what New England Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph is experiencing after another home loss, 2-1 to San Jose on Saturday night. The defeats have finally gotten to him: “This is a championship town, and if we can’t be one of those teams people talk about, there’s no point for me to be here. I don’t want to be here. … Fans don’t come out and support, which is our fault.”
The old saying “one man's meat is another man’s poison” definitely applied at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night as San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski took full advantage of the Revs’ woeful defending to vault into a share of the Golden Boot lead. He also made a push for the scoring title late last year, becoming the first MLS player to earn the title of “Mr. October.”
The US national team will do their part to make this a memorable Columbus Day for the kids by hosting an open practice at Red Bull Arena with gates opening at 4:30 p.m. ET this afternoon. They face Ecuador tomorrow.
You want access? How about a live chat with MVP candidate Fredy Montero of the Seattle Sounders? That starts at 3 p.m. ET on SeattleTimes.com.
If you’re an MLS fan and it’s Columbus Day, nothing beats watching the Columbus Crew. The reserves play the New York Red Bulls this morning in Reserve League action. It’s free.
With the Supporters’ Shield in hand, Galaxy fans will now fret about their players’ fitness. With Landon Donovan nursing a rare injury of his own, forward Robbie Keane may sit out the Republic of Ireland’s crucial Euro qualifying finale against Armenia due to a sore adductor.
In other international news, Diego Maradona’s Al-Wasr lost 5-0 in the United Arab Emirates and Cristiano Ronaldo gave us another very Maradona-like line after fans in Cyprus were targeting him with pro-Lionel Messi chants: “Those chants come from abnormal people. ... Whoever likes soccer surely likes to watch Cristiano Ronaldo.” (SPANISH)
Speaking of Messi, beginning in November, he’ll be wearing cleats with a special chip inserted to record up to seven hours of data on his runs and the power of his shots. All with the goal of helping Messi play even better, as if that were possible. (SPANISH)
Was there ever any doubt? Former USMNT goalkeeper coach Zak Abdel joins Bob Bradley’s staff on the Egypt national team.
The Mexican league did not break for the FIFA fixture window and it gave a chance for US World Cup forward Herculez Gomez to score his fifth goal for Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico on Friday night while giants Guadalajara and Club América continue to struggle.
But there is likely no story this weekend more stunning than what happened in South Africa, where Bafana Bafana played for a 0-0 draw and celebrated qualification for the African Cup of Nations only to find out they actually needed a win and will watch the tournament from home. Understatement of the year from their coach: “I feel like I have failed.”
After reading the story, it should make this video that much more amazing to watch. (VIDEO)
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