Friday, November 18, 2011

Previewing MLS Cup 2011 with Tony Meola and a Timeline of Cup Events

This is it folks! All the drama and tears and cheers have led us to the end of MLS playoffs. Most fans are left rueing squandered chances, bad decisions, and a lack of that intangible but often referenced “heart”, but a few lucky fans get to experience the true excitement of their team in a MLS Cup. It’s something you can only really feel when your team could win it all.

Someday that could be you (and if it is you this weekend, congratulations you lucky bastards)!

Here are the relevant details:
LA Galaxy VS Houston Dynamo
8pm CST
ESPN Galavision TSN2
More match facts than I could ever come up with on my own

Tony Meola Previews the MLS Cup
Tony Meola, dear friend of DuNord, and I chatted about the MLS Cup today. It was interesting to get a perspective that didn’t put the Galaxy as the heavy favorites.

1. Where in the World is Tony Meola Today?
I’m in LA with AllState getting ready for an exciting weekend centered around the MLS Cup final. We’ve got a pretty exciting couple days and weekend setup.

Tonight we are heading out to do a local event with a bunch of teams in the LA area. We are going to take their goalkeepers and do a little clinic. The goalkeepers don’t know what is happening but by the end of the night they will have received a full line of uniforms and things to help them get through their season. We do that it in a lot of communities.

The best part is they all get tickets to the final! AllState has a huge setup and when they get to the clinic they have no idea what is going on and they keep wondering as the night goes on what is going to happen.

2. If we are going to the MLS Cup, where can we meet you at?
Sunday we are having a big event at the stadium in conjunction with LA Scores which is a local charity that a couple guys I’ve played with have are involved in.

Just look for the big AllState tent in the celebration area. From 3 to 5, you can come in, register, sit and chat. We have Cobi Jones, Ethan Jones, and Pavel Pardo stopping by.

It’s a neat event. We have a green screen and kids will have an opportunity to dive after a ball. Every time someone takes a dive AllState will donate 50 bucks to LA Scores. I might even chip in 50 bucks to see Cobi dive.

3. Have you been to a lot of MLS Cup’s as a spectator? How many years in a row?
I think I’ve only missed one since I was playing in the finals. I missed the second time Houston won. Dominic Kinnear was my old roommate so he doesn’t let me live it down that I missed it.

4. For those of us who haven’t been to one, what can we expect besides the game? Lots of fan events to attend / players to meet?
From a fans perspective it’s more of an experience. There’s an awful lot to do rather than just watch the game for 90 minutes. Now with all the ex-players that are coaching and GMs and Technical Directors that all come out this is the time everyone gets together and it almost feels like a big team meeting. All the players do a great job of getting around and talking to fans.

5. Everyone seems to be saying that the Galaxy are hands down favorite to win the cup, do you agree?
I don’t know that when you get to a final anyone is hands down the favorite. Of course they have a huge advantage being home, but I think LA has offered up an awful lot of chances in the playoffs. Their goalkeeper played well in NY, but in the last game verse Salt Lake there were opportunities for both teams.

The difference was LA buried that second goals and that changed the face of the game. LA gave up a lot of their opportunities on restarts early in the game and that’s the one thing VS Houston you don’t want to do.

Of course Brad Davis is not playing now but it didn’t seem to matter VS KC. Anytime you have Brian Ching in the box he’s going to be dangerous and other guys who have some size like Moffat. You just can’t handle everyone. Houston is comfortable with enduring pressure. They can relieve and accept pressure, sit back, waiting for it to subside, and then go about their game.

They are two very good teams. I don’t know how you can say that one team is “hands down” the favorite.

6. I’ve was looking at records of who has won over the last 15 Cups and the team with the worst record has won 9/15 times. It goes to show anyone can win this time of year.

You want to play well this time of year. LA has done well all year and Houston has really come on strong during the end of the season. They are two really organized teams, and Houston might be the most organized team in the league.

7. Between Josh Saunders and Tally Hall, who do you think is the better goalkeeper?
They’ve both been very good. Tally Hall is a little more traditional and Saunders is a little more reactionary but they both serve their purpose well. There were a couple plays I’m sure that went unnoticed for Tally Hall during the Houston vs KC game where if he had spilled a ball or given up a rebound on some difficult low shots he would have been in trouble. Those are things don’t look like they are trouble until the keeper spills one and then everyone notices.

8. What about the battle of coaches? Between Kinnear and Arena we have two veteran coaches each with multiple MLS Cup wins. Does either have the advantage?
I think they are pretty evenly matched. You look at Kinnear's changes in KC. He lost his #1 guy in the first half, makes changes, and endures pressure. He made the changes and two minutes later the kid he puts in scores. Every move he made worked out.

These are two coaches that know exactly what to do. I don’t know that one coach is going to out coach the other. It’s going to be pretty evenly coached and the players on the field will decide it.

9. Are you a neutral? Who are you cheering for?
I’m a huge Dominic fan. I’m not going to stand up and jump if Houston scores but I’ve always supported Dominic, he’s always supported me in everything that I’ve done, and I’ll continue to support him.

Thanks for helping us out Tony!

Fan Fun Events
So where are all these great events and fun times taking place at? I’ve done my best to try and track down a few of them. You can also follow @dunord on Twitter to track down and stock our bearded leader.

Sunday (All time in Central)
7am – 8am Tailgate Extravaganza Prep

8am – 11am Attempt to Drive to MLS Cup

11am – 3pm Tailgate Like This is The Last Tailgate Ever (I recommend Early Times)

3 – 5pm Groin Injury at Tony Meola’s Goalkeeper Challenge

8-10pm It’s Game Time Bitches (Thunder Stick Distributed at Door)

10-12pm Reenact the Rum Diary. Do Not Fight the Locals.

12pm – 1am Celebrate the Win or Drown Out the Loss At Your Local Dive Bar

1am – 2am Engage Eric Wynaldo in a Shots Contest

2am – 3am Yell “BRUUUUUUUCCEEE” at Every Non Drinking Mountain of Man With a Beard (They are All Bruce)

3am – 4am Try to Figure Why Your Hotel Room Card Doesn’t Work

4am – 6am Sleep In The Hall

6am – 6.30am Incredible Thirst

6.30am – 6.45am Realizing You Are on the Wrong Floor

6.45am -7.00am 15 Minutes of Sleep Before You Have to Leave To Catch Your Flight

Cheers, Graham Fox


Blogger jim c said...

Ha! That schedule is amazing.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Jenna Fox Photography said...

'Re-enact the Rum Diary..." HA! Love this interview and the schedule. If only Houston could've pulled through.

12:27 PM  

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