Cue up the rematch.
A year after the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 in the MLS Cup behind a Landon Donovan goal, the two teams will meet again to decide the championship for a second consecutive year.
Neither team was necessarily expected to get here, and each had to battle through the Knockout Round after the Galaxy finished the regular season as the the fourth seed in the West and the Dynamo finished as the fifth seed in the East.
Nevertheless, here we are. It's a game with no shortage of star power, experience and quality coaching.
Let's break down this year's MLS Cup.
Where: Home Depot Center, Carson, California
When: Saturday, December 1 at 4:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN; MLS Live
Listen: SiriusXM FC 94
Starting Lineup Prediction For Galaxy
Sean Franklin - Omar Gonzalez - A.J. DeLaGarza - Todd Dunivant
Landon Donovan - Victor Juninho - David Beckham - Mike Magee
Edson Buddle - Robbie Keane
Starting Lineup Prediction For Dynamo
Kofi Sarkodie - Jermaine Taylor - Bobby Boswell - Corey Ashe
Oscar Samir Garcia - Ricardo - Adam Moffat - Brad Davis
Calen Carr - Brian Ching
Most Important Player to Watch: Landon Donovan, Galaxy
Mr. Donovan has quite the MLS Cup history. He's going for his fifth MLS Cup title, he's already a two-time MVP and he's scored four MLS Cup goals, including last year's game-winner against the Dynamo.
If anyone is going to come up huge in the clutch, it will be Donovan.
Donovan will be looking to lead the Galaxy to a fourth title in eight tries, but Houston won't lay down without a fight, looking to ensure its third title in four tries.
The Galaxy may be loaded with superstars (by MLS standards) like David Beckham, Edson Buddle and Robbie Keane, but Donovan is the player to watch in this game.
What They're Saying
As Alecko Eskandarian of Sports Illustrated notes, plenty of Dynamo players will be motivated in this contest:
It's unclear whether Dynamo stalwart Brian Ching, 34, will be back next season. He's certainly in the latter stages of his career—his role changing drastically from go-to scorer to late-game substitute—after being the face of the franchise since its debut season in 2006. Houston will look to get Ching another ring just in case this is his last opportunity.
Brad Davis and Ricardo Clark will both be itching to make an impact after being sidelined in previous MLS Cups. Davis sat out last year's 1-0 loss to the Galaxy with a torn quad. Clark has never played in an MLS Cup despite the Dynamo's success. He was injured in 2006 and suspended in 2007.
There's something to be said for experience, and the Galaxy have plenty of it. Donovan is always clutch in the MLS Cup, and you know the Galaxy will be looking to send David Beckham out on a high note. The Galaxy get the win, 2-1.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets never settle for second place.
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