Very few, if any football matches on the planet this weekend will feature the individual quality that tonight’s LA Galaxy-TFC match will provide. Julian DeGuzman will make his MLS debut against David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the Galaxy. You’ll also have the presence of Dwayne DeRossario arguably the most successful player in the history of MLS.
It’s unfortunate that tonight’s game will not be broadcast nationally. Those of us fortunate enough to have MLS Direct Kick will enjoy a matchup whose quality should rival anything coming from Europe today. DeGuzman, in particular is a player whose mere presence should elevate the overall quality and perception of Major League Soccer.
Toronto FC has added a new element to MLS. While some fans and board members of the USSF may have been skeptical of bringing Canadian teams into the league, TFC has helped to promote football in Canada while also promoting the American player like Mo Edu and Marvell Wynne.
The TFC fans have also taken the good work of supporters in the league, most notably DC United and further promoted a supporters culture that is a fusion of North American and European culture.
For all this good work, TFC has been rewarded with little positive on the pitch. No playoff appearances and a disappointing exit to the CONCACAF Champions League at the hands of the woeful USL-1 side Puerto Rico Islanders. TFC thus has a real obligation to its supporters to push forward this year and achieve something meaningful.
The LA Galaxy under Bruce Arena are perhaps the most complete and experienced team in MLS. The side features players that have been on the books of the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Boruissa Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon, AC Milan, Bayer Leverkusen, Fulham, Bolton, Nurnberg and Hertha Berlin.
In other words, if you are looking for a side in North America, experienced in European football, it is the Galaxy. Additionally, a former National Team manager in Bruce Arena leads the Galaxy: Having been forced to balance egos and player qualities for years in the USMNT setup, Arena has done a masterful job integrating the disparate parts into a competitive side.
TFC has a similar makeup, making these the two most experienced European oriented sides in MLS. But TFC’s side features players that have played for less glamorous European sides than the Galaxy.
This matchup will have a tremendous impact on the playoff race and the psyche of both sides entering the final month of the MLS season. The football should be good tonight, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.