Both the Houston Dynamo and the Los Angeles Galaxy have experienced success and failure in the postseason. Now, in 2011, both teams will have the chance to take home the MLS Cup title. However, how will past performances in the postseason affect the outcome of this year's match?
In 2002 and 2005, the Los Angeles Galaxy were the MLS Cup Champions. Likewise, the Dynamo took home the hardware in both 2006 and 2007. Indeed, these two teams know what it is like to be a champion.
However, they also know how it feels to be defeated.
In 2009, the Dynamo faced off against the Galaxy in the Western Conference Championship. There were two blackouts during the game. What was most unfortunate for the Dynamo was the disallowed goal. In the second half, Andre Hainault scored a goal from a corner. However, there supposedly was a foul and the goal was called back. As a result, the game went into extra time. The Galaxy found the back of the net two times to send them to the MLS Cup. The 2-0 loss is troubling to many Dynamo players. One could say they want this year's final to make up for 2009's disappointment.
While the Galaxy went onto the 2009 MLS Cup, they too experienced disappointment. After a 1-1 score in the game, the two teams went to penalty kicks. Landon Donovan failed to convert his PK. Shortly after, Robbie Russell scored the winning PK and RSL won the game. Thus, if the game goes into penalties this time around, I doubt Donovan will miss.
As the 2010 Supporters' Shield winners, the Galaxy were favorites to take the Cup last year. However, they never made it to the final. Instead, they were knocked out in the Western Conference Championship. FC Dallas stunned L.A. with three goals and ended the postseason for the league champs.
This year the Galaxy are the favorites again. They are the Supporters' Shield winners. They had four players named to the MLS Best XI. Finally, they beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 in the Western Conference Championship. It's been way too long since the Galaxy won the Cup and I think they know this.
However, this is not to say that Los Angeles has the Cup in the bag. After all, the Dynamo have been impressive in the 2011 postseason. They had a 3-1 aggregate victory over the Philadelphia Union. Then, they went on to pull off a 2-0 win in the Eastern Conference Championship against Sporting Kansas City.
Indeed, both teams have faced disappointment in the last two postseasons. However, while neither can erase the past, they are determined to control their future. Both teams have learned from their mistakes. However, in the blink of an eye, unforeseeable events can change the outcome of a game.
The fate the Dynamo and the Galaxy will be decided on Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. EST.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.
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