MLS Playoff Prattle - The Crystal Ball

So have we decided yet? Who's going to be holding the new-look MLS Cup come Sunday evening? Hard Hats or Crimson Cows? Let me present what I've seen in the grips of a fever dream . . .

The first half opens slowly, with the Mouse's cameras spending most of the time panning the crowd for random celebrity sightings. Which is just as well, considering that Angel striking heroic Sudamericano poses and Hejduk crossing the ball into near-earth orbit account for about half of the so-called action. Then Richards takes off on a lightning counter, only to scuff his shot wide. Sadly, we were being treated to a "Best of Beckham" highlight reel, thus negating the best action of the half for the national television audience. We return to see Hesmer screaming at his defenders, Richards on his knees with his head in his hands, and Angel in the background staring moodily into the distance.

After a halftime "spectacular" featuring some lame teen-pop band that take themselves far too seriously, it's back to the action. The Crew ratchet up the pressure immediately, Schelotto staring angrily at linesmen, Moreno diving and complaining, Rogers weaving about on mindless (but really, really pretty) dribbling runs that go nowhere, and Eddie Gaven discussing the merits of horrible beards with the lame halftime teen-pop band, most of whom are in awe of Gaven's ability to even sport facial hair.

Not to be outdone, Van den Bergh straps on a keytar and starts busting out the Euro-pop, Richards makes more mad dashes that end in shots dragged wide, and Angel, oh Juan Pablo!, Angel is doing a lot of standing about with hands on hips, contemplating the soul-crushing sorrow of the materialist world.

But wait! Suddenly, Rogers hits a screamer from distance. But Cepero paries! Moreno decapitates a Red Bull defender but falls to the turf, clutching his ankle and screaming in pain. The random schlub MLS official dutifully awards the free kick, which Schelotto lobs invitingly into the box, only for three successive Crew strikes to ping back off the crossbar! The cameras cut to Sideline Reporter #8 only to catch Osorio, draped in fetishes and a stylish Burmese python, performing some sort of madcap dance while waving a dead chicken. Sideline Reporter #8 is nonplussed, relating a story about Kobe Bryant loving soccer from his youth in Italy before throwing it over to Sideline Reporter #9, who is standing by with, oh Gods no!, Scientologist-in-Chief, Tom Cruise, in a Real Madrid scarf and wrap-around shades, twitching in what might be bordering on an epileptic fit.

A roar from the crowd!

Angel is leaping in the air and doing Zoro-slashes! What are the chances that the Red Bulls would score on the break and not have the courtesy to do it when the Mouse's cameras were spending an obligatory three-minutes focused on the field of play? Oh, the humanity!

Ten minutes to go. The Crew have set up camp in the Red Bulls' half. Literally. Hejduk and Brian Carroll are swapping ghost stories while they roast marshmallows just outside the 18. Angel is at midfield, all Byronic charm as he whispers sweet Latin nothings in Deb's ear. Quick camera change to the Crew bench, where Sigi's staring a little too hard at those roasting marshmallows.

Another roar!

Five minutes to go and Eddie Gaven has taken a break from his hangdog moping to lash one into the net. Osorio is stomping his chicken in a half-finished pentagram made of sideline chalk. Sigi's caught guiltily wiping the corner of his mouth with the ever-present black and yellow scarf (Quick, are a few of his staff missing from the bench?) Jump back to Gaven, who is sulking again and refusing to look the cameras in the eyes.

Just seconds to go now. Schelotto is lining up a free kick from thirty yards out. The Crew big men are jostling for position in the box. Schelotto steps up to deliver the kick and . . .

Rob Stone butts in to throw things back to the studio, where the ESPN anchor has his knickers in a twist over an off-season trade between the Royals and the Marlins, plus let's get in post-game quotes from some of the NFL action going on today, and isn't there some golf we could throw in here, and . . .

We're back! Confetti is flying, we have a new MLS Cup Champion. But who is it? Who's pulling on the t-shirts and ball caps? Who scored the winner? Well, that's up to you, dear readers. Cast your vote and then finish the story in the comments below.

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