Congratulations to the Houston Dynamo- 2006 MLS champions!
90 minutes of regular time, 30 minutes of extra time could not bring a result. And so the MLS finals went into penalty kicks. The Dynamo proved to be steadier than the New England Revolution beating them 4-3, as Jay Heaps missed his penalty. In doing so the Revs have lost all three finals that they have entered. They are in danger of becoming the Atlanta Braves of soccer.
A pity because Taylor Twellman did everything right with his goal in extra time. The Revs should have been winners but Brian Ching and the Dynamo did not waste much time as a minute later the Revs were caught napping, Brian Mullan crossed the ball and Ching headed it home for the equalizer. Ching was voted as the MVP of the finals as his penalty kick decided the fate of the game.
Clint Dempsey brought an edge to the Revs attack but at times looked pretty rusty too. The match itself looked slow and clumsy. There were plenty of fouls with players tackling each other without much reason.
A big problem with MLS is the drought of goals. DC United scored 52 goals in 32 games, the most of all the teams. The Revs scored only 39. The Dynamo had 44. In today’s finals there were just 10 shots on goal in 120 minutes. We know that the story line in soccer is never the number of goals scored. But playing in the USA is different when most people equate success with the number of home runs scored or the number of hoops made. Through the MLS season it was striking to see so many players actually never making a shot at goal even though they had the chance to do so. They would prefer a pass and work the ball to the goal line.
Personally, I would like to see players lose their inhibition and indulge in more long passes and shots from the field. This opens up the game and makes it more attractive.
The MLS is also introducing the designated player rule in which one player does not come under the salary cap. This would mean that a player like David Beckham could find himself playing for the LA Galaxy next season, which insiders are saying is likely to happen.
More on the MLS finals including the video clip of the goals >>