Ugh. The LA Galaxy and the New England Revolution will face off today at the StubHub!!1!!!one!!!!uno! Center to determine who the 2014 MLS Cup champion will be. This is not at all an ideal outcome - as we'll discuss below - but it could have been worse. After all, this could have been Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls, which would be really just the worst.
Kickoff Time: 3:00pm Eastern
Venue: StubHub! Center (Carson, CA)
TV/Streaming: ESPN will carry the game on TV in English, while the Spanish options are UniMas and Univision Deportes. If you're in Canada, it'll be on TSN1 and in French on RDS2. There are probably many other progressively more obscure networks in many other countries also showing MLS Cup, but I don't know them. Feel free to add them in the comments.
LA Galaxy starting XI: We'll add this as soon as it's available.
New England Revolution starting XI: We'll add this as soon as it's available.
Why you should hate the Galaxy: The Galaxy see themselves as the greatest MLS team ever because they've won a few regular season games and spent the most money. Greatness is had on the field in sports, though, and that's something that LA has never quite grasped. When you don't have the most trophies, you're not the greatest. It's cut and dried.
The new move from LA to take a shortcut to the top of the mountain is to pretend that an MLS Cup today would bring them level with D.C. United in terms of significant titles won. This would be factually incorrect; United has 13 trophies, and LA has only 11 entering today's game. United fan, you should hate LA both because they're making things up about your team and also because they're trying to lie their way into the history books. You hate liars, right? Right.
Of course, there is the "five MLS Cups" angle, and that is not a lie. We don't want the Galaxy to have five stars on their jersey before we have five. In fact, I don't want the Galaxy to have five stars before United has fifty stars. Or a thousand.
If all that wasn't enough: Their endless arrogance, Beckham, this never-ending focus on Landon Donovan (who, while wearing a Galaxy shirt, is a villain and don't tell me otherwise), Keane's gesticulating, the presence of Curt Onalfo, their old urine-yellow jerseys, Alan elbowing Gordon, and all the goons and jerks that used to play for them before.
Why you should hate the Revs: Let's start with the obvious and note that Jay Heaps was right at the top of MLS's easy-to-hate players in the oughts. Smirking, intentionally provocative to his opponents, and dedicated to kicking people without ever doing anything constructive, we should not forgive the player Heaps was just because his current New England team doesn't really play that way (give or take AJ Soares).
Really, the whole Steve Nicol era is a good reason to hate on the Revs, but there's more than that going on here. What about that Jermaine Jones deal? Or the fact that Jones is playing by Beckham rules when it comes to red cards (in that he is immune from them)? Plus Andy Dorman fouls a lot, and who really wants Shalrie Joseph to win an MLS Cup about 5 years after he stopped being good? Robert Kraft! Turf! Foxborough is an empty hole of a town! Once I had to drive to Logan Airport during the Big Dig and it was horrible. Plus, Boston sports fans.
Match previews: Matt Doyle covered the stylistic differences that should make this a fun game, even if we are busy hating on the teams involved, while 16 of the 19 MLSsoccer.com predictions went with the Galaxy to win. Over at LAG Confidential, Josie Becker got some quotes from the participants while Sean Steffen feels that LA has a major tactical advantage. At The Bent Musket, meanwhile, Jake Catanese looks into how much the Revs have changed since they last met LA and the success GM Mike Burns has had in recent years.
That's this Mike Burns we're talking about. Hate hate hate.
Prediction: I hate what I'm about to type: LA should win this game. They're more organized, they're better at the back, they have more of MLS's elite players on their side, and they have more methods of play they're comfortable with. Oh, and they're at home, and the Revs don't win finals. Still, I see the Revs forcing LA into a more up-tempo game than they'd normally play, which means a closer score than all this indicates. 3-2, with LA winning the game on a header - the Revs have been bad defending crosses all year - by Gyasi Zardes. Yeah, I know he's gone ice cold, but I have a hunch.
What are you drinking? I may pick up something this morning, but if not I have North Coast Brewing's Old No. 38 Stout. It's the right beer for our currently dreary weather. Of course, it's also a California beer, so I may have doomed us all. It's northern California! I swear! Oh no, what have I done?
This is the place to be for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion of how Silky Johnson is the premier philosopher of our times.