A look back at the 2010 MLS Cup Weekend



The 2010 MLS Cup Final will be remembered for a hard-fought game, disappearing fans and some frigid weather conditions, but the weekend itself should be remembered for being entertaining and Toronto should be remembered for throwing one heck of a weekend for Major League Soccer.

For those of you who weren't able to make the trip, here is a rundown of some of the highlights for me, as well as some random thoughts from the weekend in Toronto:

One enduring moment I was lucky enough to see came well after MLS Cup Final, at one of the post-cup parties. It was of Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu and Rapids striker Omar Cummings sharing a long congratulatory hug as Ihemelu welcomed Cummings to the champions club. The two former teammates had battled admirably on Sunday night, and the respect was there to see as Ihemelu congratulated his good friend.


One player who couldn't have been too happy is Heath Pearce, who was adamant in the days leading up to the final that he was healthy enough to play. When Dallas officials chose not to select him to be in uniform for the match, Pearce responded with a Twitter message that revealed some clear frustration, a message he deleted soon after posting.

In retrospect, Dallas may have wound up making a major mistake leaving Pearce off the roster and not seriously considering him for the final. Without him, Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman was forced to use rookie Zach Loyd at right back and it was Loyd who was beaten by Jamie Smith on Colorado's first goal of the night. If Pearce, who was arguably the best fullback in MLS this season, was healthy enough to play on Sunday then Hyndman and the Dallas training staff deserve to face heat over a terrible decision.

Does this mean Heath Pearce's days are numbered in Dallas? You have to wonder whether Hyndman will consider offers for Pearce considering the depth the team has at fullback. There would be a line a dozen teams long ready to scoop up the services of a player who can play right back and left back as well or better than anybody in MLS.


A player who I kept seeing all weekend was none other than Jaime Moreno, who was the subject of a rather interesting story I heard. The D.C. United legend is wrapping up his career with D.C. and MLS planned on honoring him at halftime of the MLS Cup Final. At least until Moreno made it clear that he didn't plan on retiring, which apparently surprised some league officials and promptly led to him being removed from a halftime ceremony honoring retiring MLS standouts.

What's next for Moreno? It's clear he still wants to play and he joins Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Juan Pablo Angel on the list of skilled but aging players being shown the door by the clubs they served so well.


Jimmy Conrad was also in town, though it is unclear where he will go next. Kansas City was ready to deal Conrad for the right offer a year ago, but held on to him in 2010 when the right price never came. This time around, the Wizards have left the veteran centerback exposed in the expansion draft and even if he isn't selected there's no guarantee the sides will reach an agreement on a new contract.


Portland isn't in the league yet but they were well-represented in Toronto. Some Timber fans made the trip East and I also had the chance to meet Timbers owner Merritt Paulson and chat briefly with head coach John Spencer. Portland has the feel of a club ready to make a big splash in year one.


One topic of conversation making the rounds was Steve Zakuani's impending training stint with Everton. There is the belief that Zakuani just might be able to parlay that into a Landon Donovan-like loan to the Toffees, who could certainly use his speed on the flank. This possibility could be increased if Donovan passes on a second loan to Everton this winter.


One former MLS coach who made a cameo in Toronto was Denis Hamlett. The former Chicago Fire head coach is said to be in the mix for some of the MLS head coaching openings, and has apparently already interviewed for one.


Someone else I saw seemingly every day in Toronto was former U.S. national team standout defender Eddie Pope. He doesn't looked like he has aged a day, which has me wondering if he's one of the aliens from the NBC show The Event. For those who don't know, Pope works with the MLS Player's Union, and could probably still play for some MLS teams if he hadn't retired already.


The MLS Draft was a popular topic for people I had a chance to talk to this weekend and the feeling is that the 2011 draft is going to be deep, though it may lack the immediate impact factor of 2010. I think it's fair to say that you can go as deep as a Top 25 of players who can contribute, the sort of depth you never could have dreamed of for an MLS draft as recently as three years ago.

Along those lines, I will be revealing an MLS Draft Big Board later today.


Toronto threw some of the best parties in recent MLS Cup memory. Kudos to Toronto FC and to Dwayne DeRosario, who has achieved rock star status in a town that doesn't have a ton of truly popular sports celebrities.

Yes, I made my way to a few parties, including the party SBI co-hosted on Friday along with the rest of the Designated Players. The party was a major hit (thanks in large part to the work put in by Ben Hooper of Bumpy Pitch) and it's a safe bet we'll host the same MLS Cup party for a third year in a row come 2011, regardless of where the Final is held.


Lastly, the highlight of the weekend was spending time with the SBI writing staff. Avi Creditor, Adam Serrano, Jose Romero and Travis Clark were all in town and helped us provide some of the most in-depth MLS Cup coverage around.


Those are just some of the tidbits that come to mind as I think back over a fun weekend. Feel free to share your own MLS Cup weekend thoughts in the comments section below.

  • socmin

    Thanks for writing these articles, Ives. They are much better than any coments the erstwhile negative posters submit.


  • Daniel R.

    Did anyone catch Pearce’s tweet that revealed the frustration? What did it say?

    (SBI-Something along the lines of “I felt good enough to play but apparently the training staff knows how I feel better than I do” That’s paraphrasing, but he was clearly pissed about not playing, as anybody would be, especially if you feel you’re healthy.)


  • OZ

    The last GO Train leaving BMO Field was @ 11:00. TFC officials did not plan on that as many fans had no choice but leave. The late start 8:30 was pushed to 8:55 on a Sunday night ….terrible planning by MLS + TFC knuckleheads!!!


  • Alex G

    IVES, major announcement today that Bayern Munich and German youth international Fabian Hürzeler will change his affiliation and represent the US.

    Any piece on that, word of it?, keep up the great job.


  • DC Josh

    Germany U-17 captain, currently playing for the Bayern Munich reserves. There are highlights on Bigsoccer of his recent match against Chelsea reserves. Typical technically gifted German midfielder. But he is still young.


  • scott

    I think the men’s US soccer team has come along way. I say that because as recently as 2002 people were writing us off. If it were not for Torstan “goal line hand ball” Frings we would have been in the final four. 2006 was a forgettable WC, but 2010 was much better performance, even though Ghana was disappointing.

    Could anyone have imagined so many people changing affiliations to represent the US just 10 years ago???


  • scott

    I had a great time at the MLS Cup Weekend. The Saturday night party at Real Sports was awesome!

    I think all the talk of TFC fan protesting or boycotting was way overblown. TFC season ticket holders showed up, there are just less season ticket holders now due to the new 2011 prices (that tends to happen when the ticket prices increase by 80% during 4 consecutive losing seasons).

    I live in downtown TO so I didn’t have to run for th trains like alot of people. I hope the event returns to Toronto in the future, but it seems like empty seats in the secon half have create a bad impression. Here’s a lesson for MLS – Canadians use public transit, so late game require late trains.


  • thisisphil

    the game or the event? I thought the game was pretty good actually. a little hardnosed and ugly at times, but whatever…


  • Cavan

    Not at all. 2005 was easily the slowest until the end. Overall, it wasn’t a bad game. Wasn’t great but entertaining enough.


  • Mike

    I think this is in response to the frigid cold weather, late kickoff hour, about 1/4 empty seats in a 20k stadium, the usual irrelevant, meandering commentary by John Harkes (along with Ian Darke’s constant whining about said weather, like it doesn’t dip into the 40s in England in the winter month matches), the awkward & controversial halftime announcements by Don Garber, the match MVP having his name indifferently slaughtered by the trophy’s sponsor, the empty stadium by the end of the match and presentation of the MLS Cup trophy, the disgraceful shape of the pitch even for November, the visible impatience of Linda Cohen and Steve Levy on Sportscenter’s promo waiting for the match to end so the REAL sports headlines could be reported (which centered around NASCAR and Jimmie Johnson’s championship). Oh, and it was a sloppy, boring match (until the last 15 minutes) between two no-name, second-tier (based on the REGULAR SEASON), ill-supported teams that did nothing to move away from the general public’s perception of MLS as a minor league. All in all, a forgettable missed opportunity of a championship game.


  • BenH

    Rongen apparently revealed that he did make the switch and will represent us in the U-20 team. Not sure if I’m allowed to provide links to other sites here, but it is on Yanks Abroad site.


  • Fan

    Actually, heading East, the last train was midnight.

    Heading West, the last train was 12:49.

    The issue is people don’t want to wait an hour for their train after the game, so they leave early to catch the more sutiable option. Not to mention however long their train ride is.

    This has been a problem at TFC games since day 1.

    I agree a late kick-off on a Sunday night wasn’t the smartest decision.


  • RB

    Yes, thanks Ives!

    That said, watch out for this:

    “This time around, the Wizards…”

    Oops! Guess that’s gonna take a while. 🙂 Gotta change those links in the margins, too. All the good work you do and here they just go and make more for you.


  • RB

    It’s undoubtedly tough to like the outcome of the postseason when your team was the only one in the entire thing who really didn’t accomplish anything.


  • dino1er

    ives, nice meeting you at the party friday night in toronto. Forgot to tell you ElAC is a very good friend of mine and he says wat up.

    BLACK ARMY 1850 supporters solely of CHIVAS USA.


  • papa bear

    I was shocked that Pearce was left off. He provides excellent service and defends well. It really is all you would ever ask of your fullbacks.

    If they are unloading him, I would LOVE for Chicago to get a look at him.

    As for Angel and Schelotto…I have a hard time believing they’ll be jobless for long. Both have a good year or two left in them. I’m sure JPA can score 12-15 goals next year on virtually any squad.
    Kinda makes you wonder if RBNY is dumping him for another DP slot so they can make a play for Ronaldinho? They certainly need an attacking midfielder to team with Marquez and Henry more than they need another #9


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    If true, then Garber is making a serious mistake in expanding the playoffs to 50% of the teams in the league (20 teams for the math challenged). I will also confess, I DVR’d it and watched it last night…even though I was pulling for the Rapids…had it been the Galaxy, I would have considered flying out with a weeks notice, not necessarily because I’m a Gals fan, (more of an MNT fan) but because a Beckham buzz and a Landon buzz would have made for a more enjoyable atmosphere…and plus Toronto is a great place to party.

    Garber needs to seriously consider dropping his expansion of playoffs idea…rather I’d cut the playoffs to 6 teams, with the top two receiving byes in week one-which would be a one game playoff, then the top two and the two qualifying teams play a home and home series for advancement. Seems the only way to make the regular season more relevant.


  • Debacle

    I hate how ‘hard fought game’ has become some not-so-secret code for a game with no flow and erratic passing and mistakes and charging the ball with little purpose except breaking up plays and creating a really ugly game.

    Yeah, it was a ‘battle’. In other words, ugly soccer.


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