Uncreative title, I know. I couldn’t think of anything fun. C’est la vie.
In any event, it was a good match. It was very exciting although injuries took their toll, which is always unpleasant. That said, the reinforcements more than held their own for 120 minutes and 7 rounds of penalty kicks. Surprisingly, Landon Donovan and, to a lesser extent, David Beckham, were absent for long stretches of play. Donovan was particularly surprising, given how well he’s played for the national team over the last year or so.
After all of the playing, in which several players, including Andy Williams and Beckham, ran themselves ragged, it came down to penalty kicks. The exciting/aggravating time in soccer. Both keepers played well, with Real Salt Lake’s (I hate their name, BTW. It is hands-down the dumbest name in MLS. I don’t understand why they didn’t call it “Royal Salt Lake” or the “Salt Lake Royals” or something. Why the Spanish? Why???) Nick Rimando performed his wizardry again: stopping just enough Galaxy shots to win the match and the MVP award. Surprisingly, Donovan missed his penalty kick. Go figure.
The atmosphere was electric; Seattle did a wonderful job hosting the Cup and creating the atmosphere. Over 46,000 people watched the match. They weren’t disappointed. Among some, the idea has already taken hold that the atmosphere proves soccer has arrived; I wouldn’t go that far but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Congrats, Salt Lake.