Grit Beats Sizzle At Cup Final


Upsets continued to play a factor in the 2010 MLS Cup Playoffs. After wondering aloud on Sunday morning if there were more surprises ahead, the final one of this postseason arrived later in the evening in the form of Colorado defeating Dallas 2-1 after extra time.

Dallas enjoyed a tremendous season. A coach of the year and league MVP in its midst, they once had a 19-match unbeaten streak in the regular season, then pushed aside heavyweights Salt Lake and Los Angeles in the playoffs on way to Toronto. But Colorado showed the kind of grit and commitment that was required to win a one-off final against the talented Texans' sizzle.

A few quick points from the game:

Five-Star Service

Colorado midfielder Brian Mullan won his fifth MLS Cup title, having previously earned this honour with Los Angeles, San Jose and Houston twice. He became the second MLS player to achieve this feat, Jeff Agoos was the first.

A Jim Kelly Award?

Like the former Buffalo Bills quarterback who played in four NFL Super Bowls without a victory, Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez lost his fourth bid at an MLS Cup. Before Sunday he lost three times with New England.

[inline_node:5423]Wynne v. Cunningham

Conor Casey didn’t spend enough time in Toronto for anyone to truly miss him. However, Marvell Wynne was well liked and received a nice ovation from BMO Field. Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham, who put in some minutes in Toronto but could never find a groove, was jeered mercilessly. It even merited a mention from Toronto Mayor David Miller via Twitter.


Or the lack thereof. Players on the Dallas bench taunted a visibly injured Macoumba Kandji after the extra time substitute got hurt while engineering the George John own goal that won Colorado the championship. Coloardo players weren't agels, but this display was one of the poorest moments of the match. Kandji was carried off to the dressing room with the help of two trainers. Out of substitutions, Colorado played a man down for the final 10 minutes clinging to the Kandji-created lead.

Pickens At Peak

Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was one of the main stories of these playoffs, but his opposition number made Hartman-like saves near the end to keep Colorado from conceding an equalizer. If the MLS Cup MVP votes were tallied at the end of the match rather than inside extra time, Pickens may have given Casey a run for the award.

Tower Turns Burgundy

OK, it was really purple and sky blue, but kudos to Major League Soccer for organizing the CN Tower to light up in the (somewhat) colours of the Colorado Rapids at final whistle. The other Tower lighting ceremony on Friday, where Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu beat Wynne on PK accuracy, turned out to be the last thing the Hoops would win this weekend.

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