The MLS Cup final takes place this weekend, and BackPageFootball previews the contest between Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles Galaxy.
Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy will contest the MLS Cup Final this Sunday after both sides came through their semi finals, overcoming Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo respectively.
The game, which will be held at Seattle’s Qwest Stadium, was already a 36,000 sell out before the finalists were known, and organisers have now agreed to open up another tier of the stadium such is the excitement surrounding it.
Keeper Nick Rimando was the semi final hero for RSL at Chicago’s Toyota Park on Saturday, saving three penalties in a shoot out after a scoreless 120 minutes of football.
Asked by reporters after the game to reveal the key behind his spot kick heroics, Rimando didn’t say much, possibly in case a repeat performance is needed in the final.
“I can’t give away all of my secrets but it’s something that I feel comfortable with,” he said.
“I was happy with the saves and I knew my teammates were going to make the ones they needed to make.”
Galaxy, meanwhile, defeated Houston Dynamo after extra time thanks to Gregg Berhalter’s header and a penalty from Landon Donovan.
David Beckham is the big drawcard for this game in what will be his last appearance before he heads back to Italy to join AC Milan in January as preperation for next summer’s World Cup.
The former England skipper expressed his delight at making the final, but knows that the job is far from done.
“We still haven’t won anything,” Beckham said.
“We want to win next week but reaching it was the biggest thing. We’ve done that, done the hard work and this team deserves it.
Galaxy manager Bruch Arena echoed Beckham’s sentiments.
“I don’t want to end it here,” he said. “We have to win another game.”
The final appearance has the Galaxy on the verge of complete turnaround in fortunes after they had the worst record in the country just twelve months ago.
“What’s improved is our back line, which has gotten a lot more consistent,” said Arena.
“They’re working quite well together. They move much better, they communicate better.”
Sunday’s final promises to be a cracker, and BackPageFootball will bring you all the details of the result.
Players to Watch –
Robbie Findley (RSL) – The 24 year old striker has enjoyed a good year with Real Salt Lake, banging in 12 goals during the regular season to be the club’s top scorer. A former Galaxy player, Findley has been capped once by the United States. He was named MLS Player of the Week after scoring the winner against top seeded Columbus in the first leg of the quarter final round.
Landon Donovan (LA) – Galaxy captain Landon Donovan has been a crucial figure in his side’s turnaround over the past 12 months. Like Findley, he scored 12 goals during the regular season, and his overall play has been excellent. Now one of the more experienced squad members thanks to two spells in Europe, Donovan is seeking his fourth MLS Cup. He has been capped 120 times at international level.