Photos by ISIPhotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
CARSON, Calif. — It is no secret that the Houston Dynamo will need to slow down the Los Angeles Galaxy's star-studded attack if it wants to win the MLS Cup.
That may seem like a tall task when the Galaxy have players like Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and David Beckham, but it is a task that Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell are ready for.
The two centerbacks' match up against arguably the most talented attack in the league, and will play a key role in determining which team walks out of the Home Depot Center with the MLS Cup trophy. It is a match-up that has been discussed at length throughout the week, and perhaps the most vital one.
"They have a lot of great forwards and great attackers, but if we can be really organized in the back, I think we'll give them some trouble and hopefully frustrate them," said Boswell. "The big thing is keeping them off the scoreboard, especially early, and it's Geoff's and my job to make sure that happens."
With the game being played at the Home Depot Center, Los Angeles has the clear homefield advantage, having gone undefeated at home all season, but Boswell and Cameron are aware that the benefits of Los Angeles playing at home go beyond the fans in the stands, though.
"It's a big field so cutting down the angles is going to be very, very important," said Cameron. "Obviously, they play on a bigger field than Robinson (Stadium, Houston's home field) so the spacing and what not to slide those balls through will be key for us to cut down. I think if we put pressure on them it will be tough to play."
Just as Boswell and Cameron know what they're up against, so too do the Galaxy. Boswell and Cameron's physicality combined with that of Jermaine Taylor and Andre Hainault gives Houston a sturdy back four. It also spells trouble for Los Angeles' less physical attackers.
"They're a little different than most back lines," said Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. "It's not a team where you want to be playing a lot of balls in the air against their back line because that is one of their strengths."
While all four players across the Dynamo's defense can play centerback, it is Cameron who was entrusted to do so this season after the signing of Luiz Camargo. Cameron's pairing with Boswell, a good friend of his off the field, produced improved results for Dynamo coach Dom Kinnear.
"He's got some intangibles, like his athleticism and being a big guy in the back," said Boswell of Cameron. "He's transitioned from a midfielder to a defender, so he definitely brings that foot skills that you're not used to seeing from a center back, which I think throws other teams off when the guy takes his runs in the middle.
I think that gets a lot of attention, especially coming from the rest of people watching games, like 'who is this defender that keeps running in the middle?'"
Cameron's penchant to make surging runs forward appears to be contagious. Boswell has begun doing it in recent weeks, and you can expect more of the same against the Galaxy on Sunday.
"It's a good balance because it allows Bobby to step up and I have to cover behind him, so it kind of goes back and forth," said Cameron. "But then again, you don't really want to go all the time, especially because they're a really good passing team, they can counterattack very quickly."
Houston is counting on Boswell and Cameron to put out most of the fires, and if they do that against one of the league's premier offenses, the Dynamo will be one step closer to winning their third MLS Cup.