Arena: Expect offensive final between Galaxy, Dynamo
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy possess a vibrant attack starring Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, triggered by David Beckham, with Mike Magee and Juninho giving substantial support.
The Houston Dynamo know their way to the goal, too, with Brad Davis and Boniek García fueling a flank-based offense and Will Bruin providing a finishing touch.
“Two good attacking teams,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena noted two days before the teams clash in the MLS Cup on Saturday (4:30 pm ET; ESPN, TeleFutura in the US; TSN and RDS in Canada). “I expect to see some goals.”
That's about all Arena does expect. His feel for how Saturday's title game at the Home Depot Center is that, well, he has no feel for it.
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“I have no idea [what to expect],” said Arena, who is looking for his fourth Major League Soccer championship and his second in a row with LA. “We'll see when we kick off on Saturday.”
Both teams can score, both are strong defensively, and a rain-slickened field could make for a better, more exciting matchup than last year's, when the Galaxy triumphed in far worse weather, pulling out a 1-0 victory (in a game not nearly so close) over a Dynamo side that was without Davis, their primary catalyst.
“Last year's final, I think the weather conditions were a little bit of a factor,” he told a media scrum following the Galaxy's training session Thursday. “I think although there's a possibility of rain, it will probably be no worse than this, and it will make for a little bit more of an attractive game, perhaps a little bit more wide open. But who knows?”
Rain was light Thursday, but the storm that moved into Southern California on Wednesday evening is expected to hang around through the weekend. It's what Arena a day earlier called an “LA winter rainstorm, where you get a 16th of an inch and it's a major crisis. ... It doesn't mean anything.”
LA are in their third final in four years and Arena — in his sixth overall title game as an MLS coach — is treating the final like any other game. Having so many veterans makes that simple, and "it's easier when you're home, as well,” he said.
“We're trying to keep the routing we've had all year.”
The Galaxy appear fit for the game -- Arena declared captain Landon Donovan (hamstring strain) and defender A.J. DeLaGarza (sprained knee) ready -- and says fitness is the most important element heading into so important an encounter.
“It's a little easier when you have the two weeks [between the Conference Championships and MLS Cup],” he said. “Not necessarily perfect, because you'd probably rather not have so much time off, but I think it allows you to have your team in full fitness, fully prepared for the game, but if we knew how to do all this stuff right all the time, we'd never lose a game, and, obviously, that's not the case. There's going to be some unknowns when we step on the field.”