And so, the moment of truth is upon us. Sure, we are several days away from the greatest day in American professional soccer from taking place. But it is never too early to forecast MLS Cup 2012, which will take place once again at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. and will feature, as with last year, Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Gaaxy and Dominic Kinnear’s Houston Dynamo.
Emotions are sure to run high on both sides. Houston’s Brad Davis is ready for his shot at redemption as Houston look to make up for their misfortunes last year. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Galaxy look to give David Beckham one final sendoff as he concludes his MLS career.
Who will prevail in this, the seventeenth edition of the MLS Cup Final? It is time to find out in our 10 Bold Predictions!
1. David Beckham with at least an assist
Win or lose, you can expect David Beckham to put on one final curtain call for his fans. He will get at least an assist in this match because he has a supporting cast that is built to make things happen. A strong effort from Beckham on offense and defense in this year’s MLS CUp Final will be the final chapter in a long, up-and-down, prolific and storied career.
2. Los Angeles scores first
The weather conditions should be a little bit better this time around. Last year it was raining, it was cold, it was wet, and the pitch was a mess. This year, the conditions should make for excellent football, and that is where the Galaxy flourished. Bruce Arena’s men open up the scoring within the first 30 minutes thanks to Robbie Keane, who will get a brace in this contest.
3. Brad Davis with at least an assist
This was the match that got away from him last year. The Houston Dynamo were missing Brad Davis and his playmaking ability in the 2011 MLS Cup Final, but he is healthy and he is ready to make amends. Look for Houston’s No. 11 to deliver with an assist this contest.
4. The unlikeliest of goalscorers…Boniek Garcia
Honduran international Boniek Garcia has been a driving force behind the Dynamo’s resurgence this year. Garcia has been a viable third option in the attack behind Davis and Will Bruin, and because of this, the View from Avalon expects Boniek to barrel his way in for a score in the second half.
5. Magee time once again
While the Houston Dynamo have Boniek Garcia as their X-factor, Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee has also been clutch. Time and time again, Magee—who is not too bad as a goalkeeper—has developed a knack for scoring key goals and offering some key leadership to help his team. Magee will score on Houston and make his own amends from a sorry display in the Galaxy’s only regular season meeting with the Dynamo on May 26. In that contest, Magee scored an own goal and was issued a yellow card.
6. Landon Donovan…back to full fitness
Los Angeles captain Landon Donovan has had a season full of nagging injuries and his action on the pitch has been limited as times. Indeed, his hamstring issues caused the Galaxy to struggling in holding off the Seattle Sounders on Sunday. But come the MLS Cup Final, the Galaxy’s No. 10 is expected to be match-fit and ready for a chance to earn his fifth MLS Cup. Donovan will score in the second half, as he did last year.
7. Tally Hall…on notice!
Goalkeeper Tally Hall put on a solid display at last year’s MLS Cup but just couldn’t make enough saves to help his team. The View from Avalon is calling for more of the same, but he will make a number of stops to keep the Houston Dynamo in the running. Hall will make at least four saves on Dec. 1.
8. A.J. DeLaGarza is back…with a vengeance
Central defender A.J. DeLaGarza was unfortunate to be injured late in the season but thanks to some clutch performances in the MLS Cup Playoffs, DeLaGarza could earn a start in the MLS Cup Final alongside Omar Gonzalez. Look for DeLaGarza to rack up the stats on the Opta Chalkboard with at least five interceptions, six clearances and seven recoveries with a pass success of at least 70 percent.
9. At least 25 fouls and three yellows
It’s a cup final. It’s the last game of the season. Therefore, it’s all hands on deck and every player for himself. In this contest, there will be at least 25 fouls whistled and three yellow cards issued. Ferocious tackling, tempers flaring and an intensity that fuels both the orange of Houston and the white of Los Angeles. That’s the MLS Cup Final for you.
10. Los Angeles gets the job done
Better weather means better football, and this time the Los Angeles Galaxy are going to exact some payback against a Houston Dynamo side who held sway in May at BBVA. Compass Stadium, that is. The Galaxy must come into this game with a huge chip on their shoulders and the need to pull off a more compelling effort unlike their 2-1 defeat on the road against Seattle.
As for Houston, they have nothing to lose from this match. They were the last team to make it to the postseason, and they have everything to gain from this contest. But Los Angeles are fully aware that this is all business for them. And they have a hero to send off. The Galaxy take MLS Cup 2012.
Los Angeles Galaxy 4, Houston Dynamo 1