Sunk in Seattle

Real Salt Lake 5 Galaxy 4 (SO)

i-29546e8f125aba17f06b004482567830-mlschampions.jpgAP Photos

Game story.

The RSL perspective.

The Galaxy’s season in review.

Galaxy lineup: Donovan Ricketts (Josh Saunders 66′), Todd Dunivant, Gregg Berhalter, Omar Gonzalez (A.J. DeLaGarza 89′), Sean Franklin, Chris Birchall (Chris Klein 79′), Jovan Kirovski, Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Mike Magee, Edson Buddle.

Subs Not Used: Yohance Marshall, Dema Kovalenko, Eddie Lewis, Alan Gordon.

i-f8fdbc526a39127c030c6344f81fdf6a-oldbecks.jpgDavid Beckham and the Galaxy ran out of gas Sunday.

Three lessons:

*Never discount RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando in a SO. Never.

*Many of the Galaxy players, including Beckham, looked old, tired and slow. Veterans got the Galaxy to MLS Cup; it will take more than experience to win it.

*The quality of soccer on artificial turf – no matter how good the fake surface – will never match that seen on grass.

Update from ESPN PR: ESPN Classic will be airing the 2009 MLS Cup between Real Salt Lake and the Galaxy as an Instant Classic at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at Cheers!
  • Well, I warned everyone here on the Press-Telegram that the Galaxy must not underestimate Real Salt Lake. It’s deja vu all over again. Lightning struck twice.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk.

  • Inigo Montoya

    Heart-breaking. I keep thinking of Roberto Baggio in the Rose Bowl World Cup final against Brazil in 1994. No getting over it.

  • Caasi Gohd

    Without blaming the grass for the loss, because that would be a very Chiva thing to do…

    Did you see how the ball ran on that surface?

    Then you have 3 crucial injuries in one game (when was the last time we saw that in a key game)? In all three injuries it’s entirely reasonable that the surface played a role.

    And you’re right, the quality of play is just different. The ball takes a much different bounce. In a way, I’m surprised the “veterans” (Landon, Beckham, Klein, Kirovski, hell even Birchall) didn’t catch wind of that and shoot some hard skipping shots at Rimando (and I suppose vice versa).

    Still upsetting that SSFC saw it fitting to use grass for their midseason friendlies but MLS didn’t pressure them to use grass for this one. More upsetting that MLS ACCEPTED to play the final on the green carpet to begin with.

    There were plenty of factors that led to LA’s loss, so I really don’t want to blame it on the grass, but it made it hard to watch from the first whistle.

  • Studs Up

    I’m not upset with this loss too much. PK shootout, artificial turf, injuries and cold weather all factors in a dramatic final game. Give RSL some credit for playing with so much passion and heart. The 3 ex-LA players made a big differnce for them.

    I hope any complacency, in finishing the rebuilding of this team that may have crept in, has disappered with this outcome.



  • PocketKings

    Caasi Gohd said:
    Without blaming the grass for the loss…
    Did you see how the ball ran on that surface?

    I wouldn’t blame the artificial surface. I’d blame LD.

    In fact, I can remember Julie Foudy remarking about what a great player he was when it put the GWG past Zach Thorton by having the presence to change his shot from Goalie’s left to the middle. Didn’t he do the same thing the week after?

    But with the MLS CUP on the line and facing a keeper with a good record for blocking penalties, well… I guess that “presence” that makes LD the League MVP REALly vanished, eh?

    And that is why LD frustrates the heck out of me, and other USMNT supporters. I will always see LD as my personal BLANCO… always root against him for club, and curse him when he screws up for Country.

  • Elison

    I agree with Studs Up, give credit to RSL for playing with passion and heart, and some pretty smart passing as well.

    No excuse for the turf. After all of the league’s claims regarding its status in world football, it was embarrassing that MLS showed less respect for its own teams than those it invites from other leagues — and manages to lay grass for. And playing a final on plastic makes a big difference, beyond the bounce of the ball, because the players face the extra beating of another 30 minutes. Finally, its just not fun to watch.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Five cool things about MLS Cup 2009:

    1. One of the most dignified gentlemen in the American game, Robin Fraser, finally getting a championship. Fraser was Jason Kreis’ right-hand man on RSL’s bench — and was a starting central defender when the Galaxy lost MLS Cup in 1996 and 1999.

    2. David Beckham working hard for all 120 minutes despite his bone bruise and apparent breathing problems.
    Before either overtime or the penalties, he had to use an asthma inhaler. At the end of the game, his face looked red. No, I’m not rejoicing at his agony; I’m celebrating his courage.

    3. Union Ultras going to Seattle to root for RSL and against the Galaxy. That will spice up the rivalry a bit.

    4. Alexi Lalas being shown on national television what a nitwit he was for trading Robbie Findley.

    And, finally (this one’s for you, Studs Up and Dr. Death)…


    Tim, you deserve it all, big guy….

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    From the Times’ Fabulous Forum sports blog:

    David Beckham has asthma, his agent Simon Oliveira told the Daily Mail today.

    In Sunday’s MLS final, the Galaxy star was photographed using an inhaler. Oliveira said that Beckham has suffered from a mild form of asthma since childhood.

    “He has never sought to make it public, but if it does inspire any sufferer to think they can achieve great things like many other sportsmen have done, then so much the better,” Oliveira said.

    Beckham and the Galaxy lost to Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks.

    Beckham played the game after getting pain-killing injections on his bruised right ankle, though the English star said the medication wore off after about 15 minutes.

  • Dr. Death

    Mr. D’Hippo,

    See, you can’t resist using the word “Leiweke” in any of your posts — I told you so.

    Union Ultras should worry about getting their own sorry-ass team out of the first round of the playoffs. Wonder how long Mr. Vergara is willing to continue to take a bath on his money-losing team before he decides to move them.

    You have me all wrong. I am not a Leiweke apologist. On the other hand, I do not believe that he is some sort of MLS anti-christ. Hiring Bruce Arena was a pretty smart move, don’t you think? Building the HDC was pretty nice too. Apparently you think of yourself as some sort of soccer journalist, but then you clearly have a personal vendetta against Leiweke that clouds all your judgment and objectivity. The fact that you think Leiweke and AEG have done nothing right, ever, in the history of the Galaxy shows you are a complete idiot. I suppose you long for the backwater days of Danny Villanueva ownership where they were practicing on the Rose Bowl grass parking lot amongst broken glass?

  • Caasi Gohd

    Seor Hippo,

    Looking at the trading patterns of the Alexi Lalas / Frank Yallop era, I’m pretty sure that most of the trades made during that time were initiated by Frank Yallop.

  • RRR

    Geesh Nick, Beckham didn’t look “old and slow”. He was freaking HURT, and played through the pain. You try running miles on a bum ankle for 120+ minutes.
    That’s a low blow coming from you, especially since you chose to highlight Beckham, when so many of the Galaxy players left SO much to be desired. I’d say if it wasn’t for Beckham, the LAG would have lost in regulation. Furthermore, if it wasn’t for Becks, the RSL would have attacked even more, and would have scored more. Due to his presence, they needed to be more conservative.

  • Studs Up

    J. D’Hipp,

    I’ll take 6 appearances in the finals in 14 years any day. My head is held up high and my wallot is open to support my team. Take my money Brother Tim.

    Galaxy For Ever

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Dr. Death, I never said you were a Leiweke apologist. I just don’t take kindly to people who have a moniker such as yours upbraiding me for obsession.

    Let’s face facts: AEG did only three things right in its ownership of the Galaxy: 1. Signing Landon Donovan. 2. Building HDC (which is overrated as a facility). 3. Hiring Bruce Arena. Beckham, so far, is a wash. I can admire a man’s courage while still thinking that his long-term impact is not what everybody thinks it is.

    Any success the Galaxy has had has come in spite of not because of ownership. Leiweke has proven to be a gross incompetent in so many areas (hiring Steve Sampson, hiring Alexi Lalas, hiring Ruud Gullit, allowing Lalas to burn the franchise to the ground, allowing 19 Entertainment to burn the remaining embers before Arena showed up, acting like a petulant child in public when things don’t go his way, creating an atmosphere of arrogance and intimidation — again, before Arena showed up).

    Studs Up, I reiterate that last point for your benefit. I also don’t care how you spend your money. After all, it’s your money.

    Caasi Gohd, whatever suggestions Yallop might have made, Lalas was the one who had the actual authority over player transactions. He has never denied that. The fact that Paul Bravo was hired as “director of soccer” late in 2007 demonstrated that the club needed some counterbalance to Lalas.

  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    BTW, Studs Up and Dr. Death, you should read this from

    The other, more troubling aspect is the way the Galaxy handled the fan groups who wanted to travel to Seattle. No packages were offered to travel up to Seattle, nor were any tickets allocated for the Galaxy fan/season ticket holders who do not belong to a supporters group. Real Salt Lake gave the option to fly Jet Blue up to Seattle (for a nominal fee compared to what flights were actually going for). This has been looked at as a slap in the face to fans who have been with the Galaxy for years. It shows the lack of concern that the Galaxy Fan Operations has for the supporters, and illustrates where the fans fall on their list of priorities.

    It is wrong that one of the most storied seasons in Galaxy history will end off on a sour note for many of its loyal fans. After most of them have already secured next year’s season tickets, they will lose out on seeing a historic game because the organization they support will not put any effort into helping them. The MLS promotes that Every MLS Team Needs a 12th Man,” but will not allow that ’12th man’ into the stadium for the most important game of the season.

  • Studs Up

    J. D’Hipp,

    There are not too many soccer savy owners in this league save maybe for Roth in Seattle. Each ownership, including the AEG, have had to rely on people available whom they thought they can depend on for the product on the field. Ask any LA player or coach, past or present, if they were denied any means to compete. So, AEG went through a bunch of idiots but did not hesitate to get rid of them when they didn’t deliver. There are not too many soccer coaches and GMs with proven track records in this country. They locked out with Arena only because NY went stupid on him. But at least they recognized his value at this moment in time for the Galaxy and hired him. He’ll be gone too if the team does not show better qualities within a couple of years. Remember this is still a very young league with lots to learn.

    I’ll leave the overrated reference to HDC alone cause it’s laughable.

    Re the article. It’s not quite accurate. Tickets were readily available for the game. I actually bought mine but were not able to attend because of illness. But I agree that Galaxy should have provided travel packages for the fans. Good of RSL to do that for their supporters.