The big day is here! The MLS Cup Final is tonight at the Home Depot Center (6 pm PST, ESPN). Unfortunately for Chivas USA fans, the Goats are not featuring this season, and to add insult to injury, the Los Angeles Galaxy are the big favorites in the match. They are taking on the Houston Dynamo, who are a steady, if unspectacular, team.
The Chivas' fan's rooting interest in the final can be summed up in three letters: ABG (Anybody But Galaxy). But seeing as my last rooting guide, for the conference finals, left the Dynamo and Galaxy at the bottom of the index, let's provide something of an update for this match.
Rootability Index: 90/100
The high score for Houston derives from the fact that they are playing the Galaxy. If they were playing most of the other clubs in the league, chances are that they would be less-favored. They are the closest approximation to a blue-collar squad, which is something I think many Chivas fans can get behind. In both the positive and negative columns is Brad Davis, who is not expected to play. Without him, Houston's chances of victory diminish considerably, as he was involved in nearly half of the team's goals during the regular season. On the other hand, if they win without him, the underdog narrative rings even more true, as a team that was given little chance that was playing without its best player.
As I wrote in the last rooting guide, one of the big problems for Houston is that they are quite boring to watch. This hasn't been the case in the playoffs, so that is a promising sign, but when Brad Davis is the star, you know it's a pretty anonymous team. They get by on teamwork, but there's not really a player who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and get a result. Also, they didn't win on the road this season until the end of September, which doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence. But if they won tonight, would that be bad for MLS? Definitely not. As the lesser of two evils, put your full weight behind the Dynamo tonight, even if it doesn't quite feel right.
Los Angeles Galaxy
Rootability Index: 3/100
I am going to the game tonight, and while I knew there was a major chance the Galaxy would be in this match, and despite the rain, I will still gnash my teeth less than if I was watching at home. You see, David Beckham is playing in this game. It might be his last game in MLS, or not. Is he coming back or not? Is he the greatest ever? Is John Harkes getting paid for the Beckham hero worship or does he have the world's biggest schoolboy crush? These are the questions you will be hearing, or will consider yourself, on the ESPN telecast. Unless you mute or watch in Spanish, which might be good for your sanity.
Obviously Chivas fans don't like the Galaxy, so let's not belabor that point. They have their act together, which is disheartening, but they typically play a really boring style, the conference finals notwithstanding. You may wonder why I'm still giving them 3 points on my invented rootability index and not, for example, -700. First, I think there are a couple of players who are worth respecting, if not actually rooting for. In particular, Mike Magee has had an outstanding season. You have to think this will be the highpoint of his career, and if the Galaxy were to win tonight, wouldn't you rather see a career MLS guy steal the MLS Cup Final MVP award from the likes of Beckham or Donovan? Yeah, it's small consolation, I realize, but such are the circumstances of the moment.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!