MLS Cup Preview - At Noon They Slept

Since acquiring Jermaine Jones, the Revolution have lost one game - a 1-0 loss at Columbus back in September that, at this point, we may consider adequately avenged.  The Revolution have tied two games - at Montreal on October 11, and last week at home to New York.  They won the rest of their games, putting them at 11-1-2 since Jones joined the team.  They are 5-1-1 on the road.

They are also, weirdly, 0-0-0 against Western Conference opponents during that time period. 

Meanwhile, since the Revolution acquired Jermaine Jones, the Galaxy have lost three games - once to Dallas on October 12, and twice to Seattle - once to lose the Supporters Shield, once to win the Western Conference.  They have tied four games - three on the road to Montreal, San Jose, and the playoff game at Salt Lake; and the game against Seattle where they blew the 2-0 lead.  They have won eight games, every single one of them at StubHub Center.  That puts LA at 8-3-4, but a reasonably daunting 8-0-1 at home.

Yes, I'm counting the Chivas USA game as a Galaxy home game, because - well, I'm just crazy like that, what can I say. 

I love simplifying complex games down to easily digested, if half-baked, matchups, as who doesn't?  Jermaine Jones v. Juninho fairly leaps off the page here.  Jones has pretty much been able to impose his will on the league...but he hasn't played the best team in the regular season.  Or the second best.  Or the third best.  Or the fourth best.  (At least according to the standings.)  It's idiotic to think Jermaine Jones will be intimidated by the occasion, and it's probably just as idiotic to think that the Galaxy are so much better than, say, Columbus that he won't be able to cope.  But it's fair to say that if Jermaine Jones does not win the battle of the midfield for New England, the Galaxy win with reasonable comfort.

On paper...well, on like the chances of both offenses against both defenses.  It wouldn't be shocking if Nguyen, Davies or Bunbury break through enough to win the game.  Especially if A.J. DeLaGarza isn't fully fit.  But it would be even less shocking to see Keane and Donovan go nuts against the New England defense.  In my opinion, the Galaxy's defense is better than what New England has seen in the playoffs, and the Revolution defense isn't as good as Seattle's. 

This is why Jermaine Jones has to help win possession, because New England has to untilt the StubHub Center field.  If Keane and Donovan and Zardes and Sarvas are given time and opportunity, it's not going to be very suspenseful.

I'm aware I could easily be in the middle of writing why Dewey is going to trounce that upstart Truman.  Allow me to keep pushing chips in.  Jay Heaps has done a terrific job in turning around a moribund franchise.  We'll see if Heaps ends up being the next great American coach.  Bruce Arena is the current great American coach.  If Heaps out-coaches Arena on Sunday, it will cause a serious realignment in how we view the coaching landscape.  If Arena out-coaches Heaps - well, I'm not going to say no one would even blink.  You have to blink.  Otherwise your eyes dry out.  That's why they had those eye-droppers for Malcolm McDowell while he was being tortured in "Star Trek: Generations."

This is a match between two very good teams in the most parity-driven league in the world.  There's no reason this couldn't end with a Diego Fagundez goal off the bench to give New England a 5-4 win.  It's just that 1-0 Galaxy seems vastly more likely.  As a break from history, I predict LA will do it in regulation.