Like many of you who read this site, I’m not actually based in Los Angeles. Or So Cal. Or even on the West Coast. I’m a New Yorker – Upstate anyway –and I follow Galaxy happenings from afar.
Whether a neutral or an LA or Houston Dynamo fan, Sunday was an incredible spectacle as an overall event. Maybe I just got swept up in the moment, but I feel compelled to share with all of you my 51 hours in LA to make tangible the MLS Cup experience from an out of towner.
Here’s the rundown, with everything from game winners, a Canadian and a taxi cab driver who may or may not have a legitimate scoop on David Beckham’s future:
Saturday, Nov. 21 –
4:45 a.m., ET: Rise and shine. A quick trip down to Newark for my flight brought a beautiful red sunrise over the New York City skyline. Not a bad way to start the day. Now being cramped in the middle seat for six hours on the airplane? Yeah, that sucked.
11:15 a.m., PT: Touchdown in LA. What a beautiful day in Los Angeles. After wandering around near the airport and realizing that a rental car would break my budget, I scooted over to the Four Points by Sheraton at LAX for Saturday’s MLS event hosted by XBOX. As expected, the event was a whole lot of video gaming, so I didn’t hang around too long. This was about the extent to which I took part in the LA partying. Maybe I missed out, but I’m not complaining.
4 p.m., PT: A beautiful run at sunset is just what I needed to get that cramped airplane feeling out of me. I clocked the run from my dodgy Motel 6 in Carson to the Home Depot Center at 1.8 miles. I took a slight detour to get there and finished the three miles in 18:25, surely thanks to the adrenaline in running of the beautiful weather. That time included a break halfway to check out the stadium. I hadn’t been there since 2005, after all.
Sunday, Nov. 20, Gameday –
7 a.m., PT: Wake up. Since I was in LA for such a short amount of time, I kept my body on East Coast time. If you are ever in Carson and need a workout, I recommend the 24 Hour Fitness, a.k.a. the Carson Magic club (with Magic Johnson’s face all over the inside). It’s great for a workout and some pick-up basketball. And you can get a free three day pass.
3 p.m., PT: It’s the MLS Cup Tweet Up, along with the Fan Fest in the parking lot. The Fan Fest was pretty cool, especially with all of the MLS legends running around. Even as a retired player, Cobi Jones is still the man.
6 p.m., PT: Just like the forecast called for, the Los Angeles anomaly of rain – and heavy rain, at that – ended right before kick-off. I have to give credit to the 30,281 fans who showed up in LA. Only about five percent of them were wearing orange, but all of them were heard and represented MLS wonderfully. So too did the players on the field. I’ve heard some people say the game was poor. Maybe I was caught up in the excitement, but I found it to be delightful. Los Angeles squandered plenty of promising attacks and the Dynamo generally lacked threatening opportunities, but there was a decent flow to the game. Just look at the game-winning goal. Like some Hollywood script David Beckham provided a flick-on header (yes, Beckham using his head!) to Robbie Keane, who slotted Landon Donovan in behind perfectly for a sublime outside of the foot chip. It was the Designated Player goal and it was a thing of beauty.
9 p.m., PT: I made my way back toward the hotel via the very convenient game shuttle, where I bumped into a Canadian guy who I ended up running into by chance every day that I was there. We stopped into the Chilli’s for a bite, where there were plenty of Galaxy supporters celebrating. Shout out to Richard Farley (FoxSoccer.com editor), who also stopped by to chat soccer, something I always enjoy.
Monday, Nov. 22 –
11:15 a.m., PT: I ran into my Canadian pal again and we split a cab over to LAX. Up until now in this travel log, you may very well be wondering why I should think anybody cares about these few hundred words. That’s fine. But I can say this: Our cab driver told me that about 10 days prior (circa Nov. 10, after LA won the Western Conference Championship), he drove guys from PSG around the greater LA area, including to the Beckham mansion, which he said he has driven people to on several occasions. Take that for what you will. Personally, I’m not sure how or why the guy would make something like that up. It’s particularly interesting since Beckham said he hasn’t made contact with PSG. I'm not ready to proclaim that PSG visited Beckham on this alone, but if something comes of this (and I still have that taxi driver’s contact information), you heard it here first.
2:15, p.m. PT: Take-off. Oh, and I ran into the Houston Dynamo at the airport. They didn’t look too happy.