- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On November 19, 2010
- 1 Comments
- 2010 MLS Cup, Conor Casey, David Ferreira, Gary Smith, Jeff Cunningham, Jeff Larentowicz, Kevin Hartman, Omar Cummings, Schellas Hyndman
It is finally here, the game we’ve all been waiting for since March. The 2010 MLS Cup is here and honestly I couldn’t be any more excited for this one (yes having my local side being in it helps). Having two clubs in this game that have yet to win a MLS Cup is pretty cool to see as well. They out lasted everyone this season to get to this point. We know who the favorite is (Dallas) and who the underdog (Colorado) but in all honesty these two clubs are very evenly matched.
An early goal will likely help vult whomever to a win here. Colorado is likely the club that needs to score first to win this one though as Dallas has no issue with coming from behind to win a game.
Keepers: One side of the field you have Kevin Hartman, the other Matt Pickens. Both are very solid and have made their defense in front of them miles better in 2010. Hartman should have won the Keeper of the Year award from Donovan Ricketts but that doesn’t mean Pickets isn’t worthy of the discussion either. The thing that sets these two apart at least by looking at the playoffs is that Hartman practically stood on his head a few times to get Dallas where they are at while Pickens only real big win was in the PK shootout in Columbus where the only stop he made was one that sailed over the bar to win the series.
Defense: Honestly from the start I see this as a Push. You have a couple former FC Dallas defenders mixed in with guys like Marvell Wynne and Julien Boudet and you get a defense that has really made a nice turnaround in 2010. On the flip side what FC Dallas has done defensively this year is pretty impressive considering their defense has always been their biggest weakness over the last few years.
Dallas began giving up more goals late in the year when George John and Ugo Ihemelu went down with injuries. Both with both in the lineup they’ve been able to slow down high power attacks like Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy.
Colorado is interesting on defense, and a lot deal with the fact that their midfield is so good in front of them. They have to be careful on the wings though with Anthony Wallace and Kosuke Kimura. If one gets out of position Dallas will make them pay similar to what Robbie Rogers did to them in Columbus.
Still this one is to close for me to call here.
Midfield: I really believe had it not been for the trade to get Jeff Larentowicz, Colorado would not even be in this game. That’s how big of an addition he was this season to the Rapids. He made the midfield and defense collectively better. The mid-season pickup of Brian Mullan did help bring some grit and better passing through the wings.
That said the rest of the midfield for the Rapids isn’t as good as Larentowicz has made them. On the wings they can get beaten if players are out of position and Dallas does a good job of spreading their attack through their wings like we saw against LA. Dallas’s five-man attack is balanced and well thought out. Guys like Dax McCarty and Daniel Hernandez are the cog in the midfield that really keep things going and allow David Ferreira to get in space and create for himself and whomever is playing up top. The wings are speedy with Brek Shea and Martin Chavez and are able to find holes in the defense.
Forwards: This one is fairly simple to go into. Dallas has gone with a number of strikers all season long, mostly a lone striker in the form of Martin Rodriguez or Jeff Cunningham, or in the case of last week in LA in the form of Atiba Harris. Either way you spin it Dallas doesn’t really have the best go-to scorer up top the way that Colorado does in Omar Cummings and Conor Casey.
Dallas flows their offense through and with Ferreira in hopes to spring a free Cunningham or Rodriguez. Colorado on the other hand is fairly simple as they go wide with Cummings and he sends balls into the box for Casey; or they find diagonal balls in space for Cummings to run on to with his speed; or they hope for odd plays to accure.
Still the edge goes to the Rapids on this one based on Cummings and Casey.
Bench: Dallas is fairly deep, probably a tad bit deeper than the Rapids when you consider they can bring on a Eric Avila, or even a Cunningham at anytime. Or if they have the lead they can bring in defensive help like Eric Alexander.
Coach: You have the MLS Coach of the Year in Schellas Hyndman and on the other side a guy that is pretty underrated in Gary Smith. I’d lean towards Dallas due to the award but really this one is even considering both did an excellent job of finding guys that fit their systems for this year. Though I doubt Smith has a cool enough jacket to spark a huge Twitter frenzy like Hyndman did.
X-Factors: Shea (Dallas); Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado) – Shea is a bad match-up on the wings for the Rapids. Sure they were able to contain a smaller Bobby Convey last week but Shea works around the ball is such a frustrating way for opposing teams. Mastroeni’s leadership has to be a factor in this one, how he handles himself will set his club up for this game.
Outlook: This game will come down to who cracks first really. Dallas knows how to hold onto leads in big situations if you consider how they played in Salt Lake and LA these past two weeks. The ability of Ihemelu and John to contain Casey and Cummings is an important element in this one. The better they contain the better chance Dallas has in this one.
Considering how these clubs tied their season series I think its safe to say we can just throw those two games out of the way here for this one like we’ve done all playoff long.
The biggest factor in this game comes down to the wing play and that’s where Dallas should come up big with Shea and Chavez. Also for me the Cunningham factor against one of his old clubs is out there, not to mention playing at BMO Field for him has to be huge. Colorado may have the edge in historical meetings in the playoffs but those were different times. Dallas has yet to lose at BMO Field and I see that trend continuing in their biggest win in club history.
WVH Prediction: FC Dallas 2, Colorado 1