13 November 2006

Houston: A Fitting Champion

I know it comes with a big asterisk, but it pleases me that the Houston Dynamo becomes the third team in MLS history to win the MLS Cup in their first year of existence. First, it definately draws a line between this team and San Jose, allowing San Jose to keep their history while letting Houston begin their own tradition of excellence. Second, unlike our champions from one year ago, this team is one MLS can accept as a legitimate representative of top quality american soccer. Finally, it may be immature, but it's nice to see Jay Heaps be the goat (and I say this knowing our prospective owner may be a Duke alum).

As for the game, an entertaining opening fifteen minutes faded into a humdrum affair for the next one hundred ten minutes or so. Yet the ending of that game was truly stunning. This was not the greatest MLS game ever played, but it may well be the greatest finish to an MLS Cup (yes, even more so than Eddie Pope's header in extra time.) When Twellman scored, I didn't think for a moment that Houston would be able to counter in the time they had remaining. I, and most of the New England back line, was wrong. Ching's goal was stunning, and the penalties that decided the match full of tension. I know that most penalty shoot-outs feel like a cheap way to decide a game, but this time, for me, it felt right.

I'll say this though: Anyone that thought Clint Dempsey looked fine to play was wrong. After the initial rush of coming onto the pitch, Dempsey seemed to fade quickly. Arena and Wynalda both made a big deal about him seeming to be fine in training, which just goes to show the relationship between training and an actual game. The fact that Noonan, Heaps, and Joseph were all higher on the PK list than Dempsey (who shot 6th in the Eastern Conference Final, if I recall correctly) says that his ankle was not 100%.

Regardless, congratulations to Houston, a worth champion and fitting compatriot for international play.

10 Comments:

At 13 November, 2006 09:27, Anonymous Paul said...

Nice summary.

BTW, any idea how active your blog might be in the offseason? I know the news cycle slows down a lot.

 
At 13 November, 2006 10:39, Anonymous Bob said...

The New England Revolution are a great tragic story. 3-time losers in the MLS cup. They breaks a 346 minute scoreless streak in the final, then give up a goal a minute later. And then they lose on a weak PK by Jay Heaps (ha, ha) the same defender who got beat on the goal. It's the Buffalo Bills, it's Scott Norwood. Excellent.

 
At 13 November, 2006 10:54, Blogger Kinney said...

Paul - D, Oscar and I are going to try to keep it fairly active, but there is no quesiton that there is less to talk about. I think what might happen is that all of us might have time to post our own thoughts on a news bit rather than just one view.

Speaking of, I was thinking of writing a post enititled "Why New England Deserved to Lose". Maybe I will get to it.

 
At 13 November, 2006 11:00, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"definitely"

 
At 13 November, 2006 14:34, Anonymous Nick said...

D,
You mentioned Houston being a worthy international opponent. I've read that DeRo is almost certain to go back to Toronto to be the face of his home town's new franchise. If that's the case, you think Houston will have enough time to get a respecatable team together before concacaf starts? DeRo is a huge loss, and i'm not sure they could compensate in such a short amount of time, if indeed he does go to toronto...

 
At 13 November, 2006 16:10, Blogger D said...

Paul: Kinney is correct on this. We may not be daily, but we'll definately be posting a few times a week I think.

Bob: Schedenfreude!

Kinney: ooohhh... I like the idea.

Anon: I suck. I really suck.

Nick: I've read the same, but I've also read that Houston will not let him go (Although they might get Onstad?) Honestly, I hope DDR stays in HOU.

 
At 13 November, 2006 17:40, Anonymous Paul said...

Thanks, guys. I enjoy the blog and look forward to what you have to say.

 
At 13 November, 2006 22:38, Anonymous Matt said...

Lets start a petition that will ban NE from further MLS cups.

Sorry...but only scoring 1 goal in three MLS cups is weak....and worse to give one up right after scoring the first!!!!!

 
At 13 November, 2006 23:18, Anonymous Joanna said...

I heard a bunch of people complaining that the game was boring, but I enjoyed it. I think if DC had been playing in such a cup final, I would have found it excruciating, but that's different.

Also, bright yellow shoes are for dorks.

 
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