(by Grant Wahl si.com 11-4-11)
Don't take this the wrong way, Kansas City and Houston fans, but the Game of the Year is taking place in L.A. on Sunday, not in November 20's final. L.A., Salt Lake and Seattle were far and away the three best teams in MLS this season, and whoever wins this showdown should seal the deal in the title game. Salt Lake showed in its opening-leg win against Seattle that it was back to its early-season best, with stars Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman and Álvaro Saborío all clicking in the attack. As for L.A., the Galaxy is exuding the confidence that it can do what it needs to win on a home field where L.A. hasn't been beaten all season. The big question is injuries: Salt Lake center backs Jámison Olave and Nat Borchers and L.A.'s David Beckham (who played through a back injury on Thursday). I expect all three will try to get on the field in what could be a classic.
Welcome to the RSL Cup blog
I've been a fan of Real Salt Lake since it joined MLS and took to the field in 2005, and I've been a fan of MLS since it began in 1996. Lately however I've started to worry about the path MLS is taking and the poor decisions they are making that in my mind threaten the growth of soccer as a whole in the US. (see "Columbus conspiracy" section) Soccer in America will grow only when we have a vibrant and diverse minor league system, something that MLS seems to be smothering at the moment. (see "American soccer wars" section) Let's keep our eyes on the situation and hope for the best, a future where grass-roots soccer and the minor leagues can not only exist but flourish, as well as where the contributions and history of the league's early clubs are appreciated and preserved.