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2011 MLS Cup Final: Sights and Sounds

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HOUSTON - OCTOBER 23:  Tally Hall: Looked good in warmups.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - OCTOBER 23: Tally Hall: Looked good in warmups. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Rather than recap a match that led to the Los Angeles Galaxy winning the 2011 MLS Cup, I thought it would be more interesting to do a sights and sounds post from the game. I bought my tickets for the game as soon as they were available, in maybe July or August, and I was planning on watching it no matter which teams battled for the title. As it happened, the other team in LA was the overwhelming favorite, and they got the job done. So like I said, I'd rather give some miscellaneous observations from a rainy Sunday evening at the Home Depot Center.

First, a quick aside: I have some random tidbits saved from going to other matches, as everybody does, I'm sure. Here's one of my inconsequential favorites: I went to the Gold Cup Final this year, and in the distance, I could see the television channels that had on-site sets for the pregame, halftime, and postgame coverage. The Univision set was closest to me, and while I couldn't make out much, I could clearly see Marcelo Balboa in the distance. The funny thing, at least to me, was that he had his trademark ponytail while on camera. As soon as the halftime segment was over, he ripped his ponytail out, and with gusto. I guess he needed to let that long hair roam free.

Anyway, back to last night's game.

For orientation purposes, for those of you familiar with the Home Depot Center, I was sitting in Section 141, right above the tunnel that the players use to enter and exit the field. That section had red carpet, which was kind of odd, but I guess it was a special occasion and all. Charlie Davies and Stuart Holden were interviewed by Brian Dunseth, and the only "news" I want to report is that Holden was walking on crutches. Will he be ready by January for the USMNT camp? I'm not sure if he is supposed to, but the guy still needs help walking around, at least if last night was any indication.

The Dynamo warmed up on our end. My viewing companion, who is not much of a soccer fan, said "That guy is good" when watching Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall go through his pregame preparation. And Hall had a decent night, and wasn't actually challenged all that much considering the pressure the Galaxy had in the box for much of the game.

Meanwhile, judging by warmups, Calen Carr looked like he would have a good night, while Brian Ching looked totally out of sorts. As it turned out, neither had it together, so I guess warmups should be taken with a grain of salt. As for the other forwards, the thought I had repeatedly after Carlo Costly came on the field was "He looks like Bambi." With his size, I can see why the Dynamo liked him, but it seriously looked like he wouldn't be able to stand up without wobbling, let alone getting any legitimate chances on goal. Now, I hear he's going back to Atlas, and he's done with MLS. Perhaps for everybody's sake, it's for the best. Meanwhile, for the Galaxy, Adam Cristman had an atrocious game. When the thought that first comes to mind is "Wow, Chad Barrett would have scored that," you know it's a rough night. And perhaps most surprisingly, I thought Robbie Keane had a good, if not great, game. He had great touch, and the Dynamo tightened up when he had the ball. But he didn't really shoot many of his chances, instead looking for another pass, which wasn't necessary. In fact, his night reminded me of another Galaxy player once upon a time: Juan Pablo Angel (in his Galaxy days, when he didn't score). Speaking of JPA, is he eligible to be included part of the MLS Cup-winning team? I bet he was pretty bummed out last night.

In the crowd, unsurprisingly the vast majority of the people in the stands were wearing Galaxy gear. That's a bit distorted, considering the rain, and the fact that rain gear covered up some of the team apparel that I'm sure some fans were wearing under their ponchos. The guy next to me was from Seattle, but he said he was rooting for the Galaxy. After I told him I was a Chivas fan and was not rooting for the Galaxy, he didn't change his tune, so I guess he was serious. I thought Sounders' fans were anti-Galaxy? I guess this guy got swept up in the moment. There were also a couple of Timbers supporters sitting nearby. Actually, they were standing, and became belligerent when people complained. I assume they were hardcore Timbers people, and thought the fans at this game were being lame-o, as our section did the sit down, stand up routine whenever it looked like the Galaxy would score. As it turned out, the people right behind them were a polite family whose kids could not see, even if they too were standing. They quietly begged the Portland fans to be considerate and quit yelling, and eventually, the Timbers folks realized they were being complete jerks and sat down.

The most visible fans of other teams were Seattle fans, at least those that wore Sounders gear, which is unsurprising as it can be viewed from the moon. I saw a couple of guys with Colorado Rapids scarves, and thought they must be the saddest guys in the stadium.

When the Galaxy won, the crowd around me was strangely muted. If, say, Chivas won the title, I would be going nuts (in a relative sense, not in a legitimately crazy sense). The guys directly in front of me gave each other a half-hearted high five in celebration. You would have thought the Galaxy qualified for the playoffs or something. I suppose you could say the cold and rainy weather numbed everybody pretty well, but I don't buy that. If they went to the game, then they must have thought it was worth attending, but when their team actually won, they were low-key? What's up with that?

What do you think? Leave a comment below!