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Quick Takes

MLS Cup Predictions: What the Analysts Think...

We asked 12 Major League Soccer pundits for their thoughts on who will win MLS Cup and why. If we're judging by their intelligent answers, one team is definitely in major trouble.

BY John Godfrey Posted
November 29, 2012
12:07 PM
Kyle Martino
Announcer, NBC
I said it in a dive bar in Manhattan Beach this March on Extra Time Radio (check the tape) before the season started and I will say it again, the L.A. Galaxy will repeat as champions. With Omar Gonzalez back and Robbie Keane in devilish form the Galaxy are the best, most experienced team, top to bottom, in the league. Since the summer we have seen that when L.A.'s three DP's are in the mood, nothing and no one will keep them from dismantling their opponents. 2-0 Galaxy (Keane, Magee).

Mac Lackey
Founder and CEO of KYCK.com
The MLS Cup Final will be David Beckham's last game as a player in the MLS, which represents not only a big moment for the league, but for the continued growth of U.S. Soccer overall. I believe he will finish strong with the support of talented teammates who play well together when it’s needed most. My prediction: LA Galaxy over a tough Houston Dynamo squad. And when the final whistle blows, Beckham will have proved the experiment worked, having helped elevate American soccer both on and off the field.

Maura Gladys
Writer, American Soccer Now
Despite the fact that the Dynamo have Brad Davis this time around, it’ll be the same story as last year and the L.A. Galaxy will become the first team ever to win four MLS Cup Championships. Robbie Keane’s brilliant form, combined with the emotional pull of Beckham’s final home match will be too much for Houston, despite Dominic Kinnear’s masterful playoff tactics. Tally Hall will have a stellar performance in the losing effort.

Brian Sciaretta
Writer, American Soccer Now, NYT Goal blog, and Yanks Abroad
This MLS Cup final is the coronation of the LA Galaxy who will never be the same afterward with Beckham leaving as well as the possible departures of Donovan and Gonzalez. I think LA wins and cements their status as the most important American soccer team ever. The NASL died with the Cosmos but MLS will continue to prosper after this charismatic and star-studded Galaxy team rides into the sunset on Saturday. People will look back one day and wonder when soccer turned the corner in the USA and this Galaxy team will be at the forefront of those discussions.

Phil Schoen
Announcer, beIN Sport
I’m actually a bit disappointed in the matchup. With Los Angeles and Houston, we are treated to a more pragmatic final than with other potential finalists. The Galaxy has the ability to dominate, but tends to avoid risks, trying to wear the opposition down and take advantage of late mistakes. Houston's talent and creativity was subjugated to their grinding comfort zone en route to the final. Houston will try to force their way through LA's defense. The Galaxy will try to strike on the counter. The wide home field will play to LA's advantage with a couple of second-half goals.

Eric Beard
Founder, A Football Report
Two men don't make a team, and that's exactly why I'm backing the L.A. Galaxy. Landon and Beckham may be stealing all the headlines, but ultimately those two didn't get LA this far on their own. And Omar Gonzalez, Mike Magee, and the rest of the Galaxy won't let their celebrity teammates take this moment from them. They want this just as bad as Dom Kinnear. Even Robbie Keane suddenly looks as driven as anyone in the league. So when everything kicks off in LA, subplots will subside, home field advantage will finally mean something, and we'll have back-to-back champions.

Korey Donahoo
President, American Outlaws
Before the announcement that Beckham was leaving, I was ready to bet the house on Houston winning this rematch. They just seem to have what it takes, no matter who comes along. Dom Kinnear is really hitting his stride at playoff time, just like he always does, but with Becks leaving, I just can't look past the Galaxy, with all the talent and new found motivation. Hoping for a hype onslaught in the week leading up to Beckham's last game.

Liviu Bird
Writer, American Soccer Now, The New York Times Goal Blog, and Prost Amerika
Oscar Boniek Garcia was a great pick-up for the Houston Dynamo, but unfortunately for the orange, he is no match for the three-headed beast that is Beckeanovan. The unstoppable Galaxy superstars will do the Texas two-step all the way to their second straight MLS Cup. Houston strangled its playoff opponents with defensive prowess, but none of their opponents had the firepower this Los Angeles team possesses. If Donovan and Keane rekindle the magic they showed in combination play against Seattle in the first leg, they’re good for at least a pair of goals between them.

Graham Ruthven
Freelance soccer writer
Purists will bemoan that the league’s showpiece game will be competed between two sides that finished eighth (Galaxy) and ninth (Dynamo) in the regular season standings. Frank Yallop and Peter Vermes might bemoan that too. However, that protest stands as testament to both teams’ playoff prominence and their innate ability to tune their season towards its conclusion. No two players represent this competitive trait more than LA’s Mike Magee and Houston’s Will Bruin, who have netted five play-off goals between them. But ignoring all analysis, David Beckham will cap off five years with LA Galaxy by lifting the MLS Cup for the second time in front of his own fans. That’s how it’s scripted, right?

Jason Davis
Co-host, Best Soccer Show
Contrary to what most of news bubbling up from the MLS Cup final preparations might say, there are two teams playing for a giant silver trophy on Saturday. The Galaxy get the headlines—mainly because their two biggest names are either leaving or threatening to leave—but the Dynamo could be the more cohesive and focused team. Brad Davis is here this time, and Oscar Boniek Garcia is a menace. Somehow the Dynamo are under-the-radar despite making a final. But LA is at home, the media circus is old hat, and Robbie Keane is on fire. In the end, LA wins 2-1.

Richard McGovern
U.S. Soccer Staff Writer, Philly Sports Live
It might appear to be a rematch in the headlines, but the presence of key players missing in last year’s MLS Cup Final guarantees a different outcome this time. Houston is a team that just wins, and Brad Davis, Boniek Garcia, Rico Clark and a more mature Will Bruin will prove to be the difference against an LA side whose key parts are a year older. Look for a 3-2 win by the men in Orange, ruining Beckham’s going away party and sending off Brian Ching in style.

John Godfrey
Founder and EIC, American Soccer Now
As much as I would like to be the contrarian here and say that Houston will take the title, I cannot. Over the past two years, I have been blown away by David Beckham's competitive spirit and will to win—and Robbie Keane is not far behind in either regard. This duo will be remembered as two of the best Designated Players in MLS history, and they will not let the Galaxy lose on Saturday. Los Angeles will win, going away, 3-1.

We want to hear your take too. Post your thoughts on the game—in 100 words or less—below.

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