LA Galaxy win MLS Cup, and more
The Los Angeles Galaxy won the 2011 MLS Cup Sunday 1-0 over the Houston Dynamo in what may have been the final game of the David Beckham era in MLS. The winner came in the 72nd minute, from Beckham playing a ball to Robbie Keane, who set Landon Donovan free to slot it home. And while "everyone contributed" and "it's a team game" and all that, it's certainly fitting that the winner came from those three individuals, each of whom is paid more than the entire Dynamo starting lineup. Combined, the three Galaxy superstars earned $12,217,243 in guaranteed compensation this year, according to Players' Union figures; if you add up all the salaries of all the starters for all the MLS champions since they've been compiling these figures, that wouldn't be half of what the Galaxy paid these three this year. So is this the MLS of the future? Has the "designated player" brought an end to the league's ethos of cooperative ownership and unified labor negotiations? Perhaps, but if money were all it took to succeed, the freespending but dysfunctional New York Red Bulls would've been in the final instead of the Dynamo.
On the other end of the glitz scale, the Portland Timbers, who sold out every home game in their first MLS season, have already sold out of season tickets for 2012, capping sales at 14,750, and leaving more than 5,000 fans on a waiting list. Buoyed by Portland and fellow rookie Vancouver, MLS is boasting record attendance for 2011, with per-game averages surpassing the NHL and NBA.
Locally, alas, all our teams are done for the season. NCAA playoffs continue through mid-December. The Division III Men's and Women's Championships will be down the road at Blossom Soccer Stadium in San Antonio, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 2-3.
Favorite recent headline: "Jesus: Premier League not the best in the world." – ESPNSoccernet