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MLS Cup Gamethread: Colorado vs. FC Dallas

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Let's go.
Let's go.

Obviously I won't be in this thread, but please feel free to leave your comments before, during and after the match in this thread here. The starting XI's here are guesses, based on the ones that Big D Soccer and I gave earlier.

***

My final thoughts before the final game; you needn't read them if you don't want to, in fact I don't expect you to... But to get this out is all that I wish before season's end.

One more win and the Rapids are the best team in MLS. Even with a loss they are second best out of all the teams, many who were said to be more talented, impossible to beat, better than our boys in every way. I still don't believe that I'm watching this scrappy, underrated group in the MLS Cup final. Had you told me I would be seeing them there at season's beginning I never would have believed you. Win or lose in the final, it's been a hell of a ride and I'm immensely proud of this team that I've been watching this season. My blood, my sweat, my tears and my money are with you and it has been worth every drop and penny of each.

I said to Martin from Black and Red United before the DC United game in Colorado that I was excited for next year because the Rapids truly were getting the talent together to pull off a run for 2011. His response? "Why look to next year when you can win now?'' I wrote that off at the time as a joke from a blogger who knew winning like the back of his hand, but recently I've been thinking about that. Naturally I responded with a joke about being a born pessimist as a Rapids fan but it was true at the time, 100% completely. Five or six weeks ago I had no qualms about this team being knocked out in the first round. After all, I was the guy who had brazenly predicted a loss to RSL in front of several people going to Salt Lake on a show about the Rapids. Now I look back and realize that this is the same team that they have always been. Not the flashiest, not at all. Not the biggest names, no designated players or players who will be scoring goals in the 2014 World Cup, more than likely. But a team with grit, talent and no weaknesses.

Daniel Robertson from Big D Soccer's reasoning for why LA or Dallas would win the cup was that both San Jose and Colorado had "no real playing style". I've always been of the mind that playing styles are just a glue to attempt and fix cracks in the weaknesses of a team, an overly attacking style to compensate for defensive weakness perhaps. But before I posted that in retort, I realized that the Rapids do have a playing style. It's the same sort of style that Conor Casey has always held in his attack - the style of simplicity. This team knows what they do best and never falter from their perfect play. They have never pretended to be the LA Galaxy, with their attractive attacking football up front with Beckham, Donovan and Juninho. They have never pretended to be Real Salt Lake, with the best defense in MLS history. The only style that matters is the style of winning, no formation or DP or target forward will ever change that. The style that the Rapids use is not flashy but it works. The style of simplicity may be what wins Colorado their first ever cup tonight as I stand cheering while still affected by this illness I have been nursing in the British Bulldog. If this cold kills me tonight while the Hoops raise the cup, I will go out with a song and my hand on my heart for my boys. If my last words are "Glory Glory Colorado" it will be my epitaph. 

Not since the glory days of the Avalanche have I followed a team as closely and with as much emotional investment as I have with my 2010 Rapids. Bring on the trolls, I've come to expect them. Bring the berating, the beatings, the verbal daggers. As someone who has been annoyed, berated and relegated to a dark corner by every bandwagoner from Columbus, Salt Lake and LA in my years, this would be validation for all of it.

Bring back the cup, boys. For me. For you. For us.

***

RAPIDS STARTING XI: Pickens, Wallace, Moor, Wynne, Kimura, Thompson, Larentowicz, Mastroeni, Mullan,  Cummings, Casey

FC DALLAS STARTING XI: Hartman, Jackson, John, Ihemelu, Benitez, Hernandez, Harris, McCarty, Shea, Ferreira,  Cunningham

"Come On, You Rapids."