“It was 15, actually,” said Dwayne De Rosario, jokingly correcting Major League Soccer executive Dan Courtemanche when he introduced the Toronto FC captain as a 14-goal scorer during Wednesday’s MLS Cup presentation at Maple Leaf Square.
The four days since that moment of brevity has been a whirlwind in Toronto as BMO Field slowly became the epicentre for all things relating to MLS Cup Final.
The two teams arrived on Thursday night, journalists converged upon players and coaches at an increasing rate each day since, and the supporters that some thought wouldn’t take kindly to this match in Toronto, have proven great ambassadors for the final, embracing events at every turn.
VIDEO: FC Dallas Press Conference.
The stage is now set for the 15th MLS Cup Final. The 1-1 and 2-2 draws this season between Colorado and Dallas at their respective venues promises a tight match. So who will have the edge at this neutral site? Here are three ideas to ponder for Sunday night:
More surprises ahead?
Remember when it was supposed to be a Los Angeles-New York final? Virtually nothing has gone as expected thus far in the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs. If someone placed a bet on Dallas-Colorado kicking off for the Philip Anschutz Trophy on November 21, that person has recently come into a tidy bit of fortune.
The Texas side in particular had one of the most difficult tasks in playoffs history. They were paired up against defending champion Salt Lake in the first round and league winner Los Angeles in the next. Yet Dallas excelled on both accounts, entering the competition as firm favourites – though they must be a little weary given the upsets surrounding that tag this year.
For the third consecutive final, the league’s most valuable player will be a participant. It was Guillermo Barros Schelotto leading Columbus over New York in 2008, Landon Donovan falling short with Los Angeles last year and now David Ferreira leads the charge for Dallas.
Ferreira is an incredible talent and a classic number 10. His vision is exceptional, his passing is flawless and to make matters worse for the Colombian midfielder’s opponents, he can finish from anywhere around the 18-yard box if given space.
Colorado forward Omar Cummings should have been given greater MVP considerations this season. The Jamaica international scored 14 goals. That, along with his numerous cutting passes following 40-50 yard dashes are the biggest reasons for Colorado’s success.
VIDEO: Colorado Rapids Press Conference.
The final usually sees one individual steal the spotlight from the rest and it could well be one of these two men that goes down in history alongside the likes of De Rosario (2001 & 2007), Donovan (2003) and Schelotto two years ago.
When picking up their credentials, the league offered a choice of toques, gloves or neck warmers (all adidas products, of course) to members of the accredited media that will be covering the match. It is rumoured that Cummings will be wearing one himself during the match (he did in training this week and sported one during the Colorado press conference).
There is an idea that a colder temperature favours Colorado, but some Dallas players aren’t foreign to frigid finals. Three-time MLS Cup finalist, Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez played for New England and will have his side prepared for the elements. The way Dallas tore through LA in the semifinal in California, cold temperature might just be what this match needs to remain competitive should the Hoops hit their stride.
Should Colorado players manage to lift the MLS Cup on Sunday ahead of Dallas, it will be a fitting conclusion to a postseason that has seen several Goliaths tumble. However, it will take more than weather to diminish the rich form with which Ferreira and Dallas has operated in the three weeks leading up to the final at BMO Field.
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