Mea Culpa: Dynamo To Face Galaxy For The Ultimate

A little wrong…and very wrong. (Remember, we’re all about accountability to predictions here.)

Becks playoff performance in Game 2 against Red Bulls the key to LA's Cup march...

The Los Angeles Galaxy (4 to 1) was one of TSG’s odds-on favorites to win the MLS Cup. They trailed however the Sounders.

It was Seattle (3 to 1)  with a healthy Mauro Rosales that was the selection to run the playoff board. Alas, even sans Rosales, it was Seattle’s leaky defense that probably would have done them in against the Galaxy.

The Galaxy took out the feather dusted and cleaned Real Salt Lake’s clock. It was a valiant effort by the crew from Rio Tinto, especially centerback Jamison Olave who was clearly not his dexterous self in leading the backline.

The Galaxy essentially attacked RSL incessantly on the counter. They sucked themselves deep to invite the attack and then sprung David Beckham–like a point guard receiving a fast break pass just short of the halfline and near the sideline. Before RSL could recover the ball was up the field–usually into space for Robbie Keane (BTW, did anyone notice how Chad Barrett started to get frozen out by Beckham and Keane after he made one poor decision after another?). Keane either bought time and distributed or created space and fired. Kyle Beckerman and the midfield could not recover in time to help on the closeouts and it was curtains for Jason Kreis’s club.

It was Galaxy’s lack of depth and meager minions in attack that were the Achilles heel of the team going into the second half of the season. The Galaxy went out and brought in the established Keane and Mike Magee continued to find a partnership with Beckham. Chad Barrett became merely a 4th starter–an AJ Burnett if you will–eating innings and taking punishment from centerbacks.

He may fire a gem one game, but he was more than likely to “just hold up.”

Where I was impressed with the Galaxy was in Game 2 against the New York Red Bulls. Sure Teemu Taino was forced to leave the game early, but the Galaxy’s steel in midfield has always been in question.

Juninho made fantastic strides in that role this year–the MLS version of Pirlo if you will. Devoid of the up-and-coming Brazilian, would the task fall to just who versus New York in the home match.

David Beckham stepped up. While Landon Donovan rightfully is applauded for guiding a sure chance to Luke Rodgers out of harm’s way, it was somewhat ironic that Beckham’s defense in perhaps the most critical game for Los Angeles would actually be just the salve needed for the missing Juninho.

Lack of forwards, solved. Lack of depth, solved. The Galaxy are on to the Cup final.

No caption needed...

A bigger mea culpa for the Dynamo. TSG got taken to task last night with a bevy of comments for those that didn’t appreciate the 14 to 1 odds made on Dom Kinnear’s squad entering MLS’s second season.

One trick pony was our commentary as for Houston it was Davis-to-big-guy-running-in-the-box all season long. If a team could run at Houston and keep the bulk of the game in their defense side of the field, it would be very hard for the Dynamo to score.

And that’s where Dom Kinnear’s master stroke came in with three changes as the MLS campaign was winding down. New man Luiz Camargo was added in the midfield. He took pressure of Brad Davis and enabled more of a counter attack through none of than (change #2) Calen Carr pulling a Robbie Findley routine and able to stretch the defense.

Now, the Dynamo could counter quickly as another option. It wasn’t the big bones of Brian Ching or Will Bruin unable to beat the backline or Cam Weaver trying to be serviceable. Carr is not wondrous, but he is precisely what Kinnear needed.

Change number three, Geoff Cameron moved to centerback should’ve happened a long time. Cameron’s game is face up and tracking and using him as a pivot, receiving the ball with his back to the basket completely diminished his strengths and effectiveness.

Now shepherding in the back, it enabled Houston to do a few things: (1) play a higher backline with the speed of Cameron shutting down over-the-top runs. (2) keep opposing defense’s honest when they went outside to contain Davis and (3) enabled Corey Ashe and Andre Hainault to venture forward more frequently into the attack–adding yet another dimension to the Dynamo attack.

From a one-trick pony to a solid backline and multiple scoring looks in less than eight weeks.

Houston took care of Philly, who took care of themselves really with Piotr Nowak’s bewildering tinkering and they survived a first half blitz by Sporting KC who could just not breakdown their well-disciplined back four.

From 14 to 1 to perhaps worse today with Brad Davis’s injury, but that hardly matters.

16 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by kaya on 2011/11/07 at 2:50 PM

    Houston don’t have a prayer in hell as the LAG actually look motivated. Why is Donovan making Beckham and Keane look chipper and spry? Did he start aging in dog years?
    And can someone explain how/why it is the Dynamo left San Jose because of the SSS issue and they end up getting it only 1 year sooner?

    Reply

    • Posted by Gazza on 2011/11/08 at 12:43 AM

      San Jose has finalized their stadium plan?!! Really?

      I thought they were still looking for money

      Reply

    • Posted by Kay20 on 2011/11/08 at 12:59 AM

      To answer the LD question – he’s still working off a quad injury. You can see how bad it was for Olave – LD is still kicking his.

      And as for Barrett/Keane/Beckham – it’s a weekly occurrence them freezing him out. I am an LA fan, and I cannot believe the new ways in which Chad Barrett misses. Bless his little heart. LA fans get so frustrated with him. When LD moved up top with Keane, even playing at 75% he was about a 300% upgrade versus Chad. So much so I’m wondering if with all the factors at play for the MLS Cup, Bruce goes with Cardozo at RM and LD behind Keane in the final.

      Reply

  2. Posted by John henry on 2011/11/07 at 6:12 PM

    I kn

    Reply

  3. Posted by kaya on 2011/11/07 at 11:55 PM

    I’m a neutral and want LAG to win because I prefer decent soccer. Sure, they may have bought their way to it, but it’s still nicer to watch. It’s just not the same analogy when you talk about EPL teams. I also have also never cared for Brian Ching.
    My question about the stadium may not be directly related, but it’s an earnest one: why would the ‘Quakes leave to Houston and the stadium take almost as long as the new SJE stadium (3 year SJ hiatus inclusive.)

    Reply

    • I have no idea how San Jose got theirs so fast, unless the city was just scared about losing the team again, but in Houston what took longest was trying to get the Sports Authority to sign off on the lease. All stadiums like this in Houston have to be a lease and the Houston Sports Authority, for whatever reason, does not meet very often or something strange. I had heard back in like 2007/2008 that the Dynamo already had the land it just took a while for everything to be processed I guess. Another part of that is that there were quicker options to get the stadium built in the suburbs somewhere, but Oliver Luck, former Dynamo President, was adamant that the new stadium should be built downtown.

      Reply

      • Posted by kaya on 2011/11/08 at 11:01 AM

        Thanks for the reply. I’m still pretty shocked Houston swung the deal to purchase the old Quakes and took this long to build the SSS without anyone bitching. I was beginning to think I was taking crazy pills because no one said a word.
        I don’t know the first thing about the business side of sports, but I really thought the fly by night deal to bring the now-Dynamo to Houston was something that would’ve been isolated to the NFL or NBA.

        Reply

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