Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Legacies on the Line in MLS Cup 2016 for Bradley, Altidore

What earned Landon Donovan his nickname of 'Legend' wasn't his time in the Premier League or Bundesliga. Leagues in which he became one of just a few Americans to have scored goals. And, although he is the all-time leader in goals scored for the USMNT, I'd have to say that his accomplishments as an all-time great with the team is not his most noteworthy achievement. His moniker of 'Legend' took hold as he won six MLS Cups and became its all-time leading goal-scorer.

Donovan became a cultural icon because of the combination of his stellar USMNT play and his contribution to several MLS Cups. No other American soccer player comes close to approaching the status of Donovan and may not for a long, long time. Only a player that dominates and helps win a World Cup for the U.S. could surpass Donovan's records and reputation.

However, there are a few players that could make their marks on American soccer forever by winning an MLS Cup. Two of those players take the field this Saturday for Toronto FC as they go up against the Seattle Sounders for the grand prize, MLS Cup. It seems quite natural that Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley should be together in this pursuit. Donovan had David Beckham, why shouldn't Bradley and Altidore go for it in tandem?

Could Bradley and Altidore ever unseat Donovan and Beckham as greatest MLS tandem?

What a shame Clint Dempsey isn't playing for Seattle this Saturday. Get well soon, Clint. Arguably, Dempsey, Altidore and Bradley are the three next greatest American players after Donovan. They are numbers two, three and eleven respectively for all-time goal scorers of the USMNT. And, they are all notable assist leaders for the team.

They are around the net making things happen to score goals and the U.S. has never really had many players like them. Bradley is a play-maker with long distance accuracy on goal. Altidore uses his strength and craftiness like few others and Dempsey has done a little of everything, but is remembered a lot of the time for his awesome headers.

In order for their American legacies to really get started, they need to add an MLS Cup to their resumes. Don't think for a moment that they haven't realized this, as well. There is pressure Saturday mostly on Toronto FC as the home team and with legacies on the line.

Prediction: Toronto FC becomes the first FC team to win a title. Final Score 4-1.

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