By IVES GALARCEP
CARSON, Calif.– The 2012 MLS Cup Final kicks off on Saturday and while it is a rematch of last year’s final, the match will be a much different match-up than the one we saw at Home Depot Center last year.
The 2012 Houston Dynamo enter the final a much more dangerous team than the one that lost last year’s final. Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia spearhead an unpredictable attack that may not be as high-powered as the LA Galaxy’s, but is certainly capable of pouncing on mistakes and jumping on defensive weaknesses.
The 2012 Galaxy are arguably a more dangerous team than last year’s, even though the full season didn’t go as smoothly as 2011 went. Robbie Keane is playing the best soccer of his time in MLS and Landon Donovan has been very effective in combining with Keane and Mike Magee to give the Galaxy an even more potent attack than the one that lifted the trophy last season.
Here is a closer look at the key match-ups heading into Saturday’s final:
TOP MATCH-UPS TO WATCH IN MLS CUP
Brad Davis vs. Sean Franklin
The Dynamo give Davis more freedom to roam than they used to, giving him the license to float centrally and make it tougher for Franklin to lock in on him. It will still be up to Franklin to not give up any dangerous set pieces and also look to get into the attack in order to force Davis to defend.
Ricardo Clark vs. David Beckham
Beckham likes to provide service from deep in midfield, and his probing passes are dangerous enough to unlock the Dynamo defense. Clark must stay tight on the English star and keep him from delivering pin-point service.
Oscar Boniek Garcia vs. Todd Dunivant
The most unpredictable, and arguably most dangerous, attacker for the Dynamo is Boniek Garcia, who always seems to find the gaps in opposing defenses with his relentless movement and intelligent runs. Dunivant is a seasoned veteran who must keep track of Garcia or risk having the Dynamo find success on the attack.
Will Bruin vs. Tommy Meyer
The former Indiana University teammates know each other well, and if the Galaxy stick with Meyer over a recovering A. J. De La Garza, this could be the match-up that decides the final. Bruin’s movement, deceptive quickness and clinical finishing make him a potent threat, but Meyer has shown at times in the playoffs that he can deal with big forwards.
Robbie Keane vs. Bobby Boswell
On paper, this looks like it should be a severe mismatch in the Galaxy’s favor, what with Keane’s quickness proving to be a problem for Boswell, but the Dynamo’s organized defense helps keep Boswell from being isolated and the Dynamo defender is also smart enough to read situations well and put himself in good spots. Boswell must avoid falling for Keane’s feints and fakes, but also avoid getting sucked into midfield, which could leave serious space behind him for Landon Donovan to roam.
Who do you see getting the better of these match-ups? What match-ups are you most looking forward to seeing on Saturday?
Share your thoughts below.