All eyes in Major League Soccer will be on the LA Galaxy and New England Revolution this weekend, as their MLS Cup dreams will come down to one final match. With only a week to turn things around, the focus may be more on health than tactical changes, as the word coming out of both camps is respect for the opponent.
"They've got a well-balanced team," said Bruce Arena. "They've had great experiences in the second half of the season. They made it easy through the playoffs. They did a remarkable job, so they're a team that will come into LA and give us everything we can handle for 90 minutes or more. It's going to be a real challenge."
Bruce Arena has always put his focus on the best possible eleven players on the field. New England will trot out a center midfield pairing of Jermaine Jones and Scott Caldwell, which unlike the rest of these playoff games is a pairing the Galaxy haven't faced yet this season. Jones was signed after the Galaxy ran over New England to the tune of five goals to one.
"We have one more game to get that cup," said Jermaine Jones. "I know they have a great team with great players, and we showed already we have a great team, too. It is one game, and I have a lot of respect for them, but we go there to win. We respect them, but we don't have to be afraid of them."
Those games against Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders played out like you would expect between two familiar teams: long scoreless stretches with the occasional dam break. In the case of RSL, the dam completely collapsed. In the Seattle series defensive play was able to limit the usual suspects, and goals came from deflections off players and posts.