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MLS Cup Road Trip 2011 - The journey begins

MLS Cup Trophy(photo from
MLS Cup Trophy(photo from

Well I sure wish the road trip to MLS Cup would have involved going to see Real Salt Lake play, but destiny was denied but the trip will still happen. There are a lot of questions on this trip, so without RSL in the match I have fairly limited photo/media access at this point but hoping I will find a way to shoot the actual match. Who if anyone to bet on, Houston is a huge underdog so do I put some money down on them to pull off an upset or is the deck too stacked in of the LA Galaxy? One thing is for sure watching these two teams will be interesting as I consider both of them some of the more heated RSL on pitch rivalries, so getting a chance to see them beat each other up for a shot at the Cup is gonna be fun.

The road trip will kick off Thursday evening as I depart Salt Lake City and we take that long road down to Las Vegas for a brief overnight pit stop. Of course it being Vegas means I will need to cash in my wager slip at TI, from the first leg of the RSL vs. SEA semifinal series, that is good for a $205 return on my $100 investment, if the odds are close to what I have seen online (Houston Dynamo +450 & Los Angeles Galaxy -160) well I might just have to put some money on the underdog.

my early thoughts on the match after the jump:

As I think about the match, I can see Houston coming out very strong and attacking with numbers early as they look for a quick goal, the simple fact is LA hasn't lost when they score first so the only real chance you have is to attack early and look to force LA to adjust how they play. Houston is a fairly solid defensive team and we have seen Tally Hall make some amazing saves this year and Brad Davis is my MVP of the league, but he is unlikely to play in the match. The Dynamo have struggled a lot on the road with just two wins in the regular season, they did pick up two more road wins in the playoffs. That sounds a lot of the team that beat LA in MLS Cup 2009, and often it is about what team gets hot at the end of the season and into the playoffs, and Houston fits that to the letter.

Then there is LA, they have simply been able to dominate all year long, they have the ability to take their game up a notch when needed and with the best defense in the league (regular season) and plenty of offensive options well this LA team might be even better than the one RSL beat in Seattle at MLS Cup 2009. Of course there are some question marks, Landon Donovan has been slow to recover from injury and in the playoffs has looked more like an observer than a force to be dealt with. Chad Barrett is out with an injury, and Robbie Keane has played in two matches in the last 7 days and is having to fly back to LA from international duty in Europe. Perhaps they are just ripe for the picking, oh wait nevermind I forgot that they have playoff phenom Mike Magee who has simply been stellar this year in the playoffs, well and in goal this year as well.

OK, that is it for my pre-departure post, I will post some updates from the road and at least one new post each day as we get closer to MLS Cup on Sunday.