CommentaryUnited States

Ready, Set, Rev Up and Get Intergalactic Dyno-mite

November 7, 2011 — by Rob Kirby

In a huge disappointment to fans of dreadlocks everywhere, no white men with dreads are likely to hoist the MLS Cup this year.

Los Angeles will host the Houston Dynamo for the 2011 MLS Cup on November 20, as both teams won their conference finals by a two goal margin last night. Unfortunately for Houston, the Galaxy remains undefeated at home in 2011.

The Galaxy struck first in its 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in the 22nd minute of the Western Conference Final. Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez got fouled in the box and Landon Donovan converted the penalty with aplomb, putting to bed the memory of the loss to Real Salt Lake in the 2009 MLS Cup in a penalty shootout. The goal brought his career playoffs goal tally to 19. He had the all-time record before the playoffs began and now just keeps extending it.

In swift answer, RSL equalized two minutes later, when Jamison Olave headed the ball to Alvaro Saborio, who himself headed it in.

David Beckham helped put Los Angeles ahead after halftime, connecting with Mike Magee for the third time in three playoff matches. Once again, Beckham delivered the ball right into the goalmouth with his corner kick and Magee headed it in. The goal was the third goal of the playoffs for Magee, who scored five during regular season. No one in Los Angeles is complaining that he waited until the playoffs to hit his stride.

Hitting the post proved a popular pastime. Kyle Beckerman nailed the post in first half stoppage time, Robbie Keane did so a couple times, and Fabian Espindola hopped on the bandwagon just a minute after Magee’s goal, nearly replicating the first quick-response equalizer that would have made it 2-2.

However, Los Angeles killed off the game in the 68th minute when Donovan found Keane on the left side. Keane cut past Olave and buried the ball in the back of the net to make it 3-1. As Los Angeles prepares for the possible departure of Beckham, perhaps the fans are witnessing the emergence of Keane, who had an outstanding match.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the Houston Dynamo defeated Kansas City 2-0 in Kansas City to book its third MLS Cup appearance in six years. They won the first two in 2006 and 2007. To semi-coin a phrase, the team will seek to make it third time still lucky.

Dynamo talisman Brad Davis (“the left-footed Beckham”) exited the scoreless first half with a quad injury, but Andre Hainault and Carlo Costly compensated for his absence. Hainault capitalized on a Kansas City botch job of defending a long free kick in the 53rd minute. Houston then put men behind the ball in numbers, defended tenaciously and waited to hit Kansas City on the counterattack. And right before game’s end, Luis Carmargo served up a great pass to Costly, who had only the keeper to beat.

The sole American MLS Cup contender in the U.S. national team, Donovan will travel home after the game against France, skipping the Slovenia friendly, to allow time to rest and prepare for the cup final. Keane also heads off on international duty, to captain his Ireland side against Estonia in Ireland’s bid to qualify for the European Championship for the first time since 1988. Despite recent fitness questions, he plans to play both legs.

Houston’s Hainault rejected the October call-up to play with Canada against Puerto Rico in order to focus on the playoffs. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he received no invitation this time around.

Houston beat Los Angeles handily a month back, but that was on Houston’s home soil. An undefeated L.A. home record tells a story of its own. But records, like rules, were meant to be broken.


The Game is The Game

March 12, 2011 — by John Lally1

The Baltimore Waterway
So that's where you keep the sugar

**WARNING** – This article – teased a long time ago here – contains spoilers for all 5 seasons of The Wire. If you haven’t watched The Wire yet, go to; buy the complete set, watch all 60 hours, then read this. You’ll thank me for it (probably more for having seen The Wire than for this article, but still).

Non-Spurs Fan: “If you know they’re going to end up disappointing and frustrating you, why do you keep supporting them?

Me: “Got to. This Tottenham, man

As my wife would attest, I have a special way of watching Tottenham’s games – leaned forward, literally on the edge of my seat, with a nervous look on my face and the occasional nail being bitten – similar to how I used to sit in  the Paxton Road end of White Hart Lane, now transferred to our sofa in Brooklyn.  The only other thing that has brought me to this viewing position, this physical display of angst, nervousness and sense of impending doom, was the greatest television show ever made, The Wire.

Each season of The Wire is set up very much like one for Tottenham Hotspur: first you have to get used to a new cast of characters and squad members; the story of the season then unfolds with various highs and lows; the penulitmate act brings some type of heartbreak and you then lick your wounds, wrap up and look to see where it will go next year.

Ever Expanding/Changing Cast

The Wire was unique in the way it approached it’s story telling with such a large number of characters – introducing many new ones through the years and trusting that the audience would keep up. In the same way, many a time I’d arrive at White Hart Lane one January and have to try and figure out who the Japanese player wearing number 4 in our midfield was (turns out it was Kazuyuki Toda…no, I have no idea what happened to him either).   Take a look at the major characters introduced through the five years of The Wire (listed as when they became involved in the plots not based on first appearance, cf. Prop Joe is in Season 1 but his significance becomes more apparent from Season 3 onwards), and the players who signed for Tottenham in that same time period (2002-2008)

Tottenham: (2002) Redknapp, Acimovic, Blondel, Ricketts, Hirschfield, Keane. (2003) Toda, Postiga, Zamora, Mabizela, Kanoute, Dalmat, Konchesky. (2004) Brown, Defoe, Robinson, Fulop, Defendi, Mendes, Sean Davis, Leigh Mills, Reto Ziegler, Erik Edman, Timothee Atouba, Naybet, Edson Silva, Pamarot, Carrick, Davenport.  (2005) Mido, Hallfredsson, El Hamadaoui, Radek Cerny, Dawson, Andy Reid, Stalteri, Lennon, Huddlestone, Tainio, Routledge, Young-Pyo Lee, Rasiak, Jenas, Davids.  (2006) Danny Murphy, Ghaly, Berbatov, Assou-Ekotto, Zakora, Dervitte, Malbranque, Chimbonda. (2007) Rocha, Alnwick, Bale, Taarabt, Bent, Kaboul, Rose, Boateng, Gunter. (2008) Woodgate, Hutton, Gilberto, Modric, Dos Santos, Gomes, Bostock, Bentley, Pavlyuchenko, Corluka.


NY Red Bulls vs Tottenham

July 23, 2010 — by John Lally2

Did you miss me?

The last time I had been to a Spurs game was April 21st, 2007 – the day before I moved to NY. The game was a league match against our most hated rival, Arsenal, and had ended in a draw after a last minute equaliser for Tottenham.  Thanks to a pre-season tour to the US, I was able to go and see Spurs in action again tonight, this time against NY Red Bulls and their new player, our old foe Thierry Henry.  His association with Arsenal will never be forgotten for Tottenham fans and so, a game that could have been a routine tune up game, had that little bit more spice to it.

Travelling with my wife to the game, we arrived at the World Trade Center PATH station a good couple of hours before the game and it was somewhat surreal to hear the familiar chants I’d usually hear at Seven Sisters being belted out in downtown Manhattan. At the stadium, our seats were not far from the main section of Spurs fans
and, though there were plenty of Red Bulls fans
around me also, it definitely felt like home territory.

Henry was introduced to inevitable boos, Spurs players fresh for a new season were cheered on heartily as the teams were announced.