Well, that certainly didn't feel much like a cup final--more like a mid- to late-season MLS game with some playoff implications. There were some really nice passages of play, but also a fair amount of thuggish Neanderthal-ball , as well as some truly awful crossing that made the crosses that connected for the Revs' first and Houston's second look divine by comparison. It's just a shame that, for the second year running, it had to go to PK's, because it was an entertaining game. You know the drill by now . . . to the talking points!
* Despite my earlier claim that this felt more like a regular season game than a cup final, I think you saw in the passion of the Revs' veterans as push came to shove that they really wanted this one. I'm thinking of Joseph, Twellman, and Ralston, in particular. Their PK celebrations were those of men, long denied, who wanted to win the Big One. In contrast, I really didn't see the same sort of fire out of the likes of DeRo, Ching, and Barrett.
* Igwe's going to be donning the goat horns and beard for the Revolution. His failure to challenge Kamara on Houston's second, and the truly comical display that resulted in the Dynamo's first are both going to be strung about his neck. Of course, the blame really goes to that cheeseball display by Atlante at the close of the semifinal match that got Heaps red-carded. I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of ultra-thug Jay Heaps, but you've got to think that he would have done better in those two situations.
* While we're on the subject of thuggery, there was a fair amount of nonsense that Howard Webb was letting go, particularly in the early stages. It was almost as if the English ref tried to calm things down early with a quiet "Alright, lads, let's settle down and play football," and then something got horribly lost in the across-the-pond Babel Fishery as Albright, Boswell, and others mentally strapped on shoulder pads and started leading with the shoulder.
* And speaking of Mr. Webb, he and his linesmen were guilty of more than a few head-scratching decisions. Were the linesfolk part of his crew or locals? Cause all three of the officiating crew seemed to be operating at pre-season levels. Which, I suppose is pretty much the case given that the EPL doesn't get going again until later this month.
* While I gave Igwe some of the blame for Houston's second, Reis made the decision to come and got nowhere near the ball, so he'll have to shoulder some of that albatross as well. Of course, given a couple of the saves he made to keep the Revs in the game, and his PK heroics, I suppose he gets a pass.
* You've got to love Greg Lalas flying the family flag for inept decision making during the shootout by labeling Twellman's PK as "perfect", only to call a near mirror-image shot from Brian Ching a weak effort. Same shot, though perhaps Twellman disguised his better--but it boils down to one keeper making a better guess. And how can a shot on the ground that doesn't find side netting be "perfect"? Whatever--that was but a sample of the dross spewing forth from the chattering nabobs in the booth. Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster that I don't have to listen to those two every week. Thanks, Revs fans, for taking that particular bullet for the rest of us.
So . . . congrats to the Revs on taking the second edition of SuperLiga. I really thought that they would fold after Kamara floated over Reis and Igwe to nod home for Houston's 2-1 advantage. The worrying thing for the rest of MLS is that this has got to give the league-leaders an extra shot of confidence going into the final third of the season. The Revs were already looking good money to do some major damage, but they've added a slick passing dimension to their play that wasn't previously in evidence, and are getting Twellman back to full health just in time to get him fit for the stretch run. Worrying signs for all save the Revs fans. There are some of you out there, right? ;-)