One team is a star-studded group from the bright lights of Los Angeles; the other is a hard-working unit from Salt Lake City. On Sunday, these two unlikely opponents are coming together to compete for an important championship - The MLS Cup.
While much of the hype leading into Sunday's game will be about the Los Angeles Galaxy's two brightest stars, Landon Donovan and David Beckham, they won't be the only two players on the field. Many other athletes will play key roles in the game, both for Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. Here's a look at some of the less heralded players that could have an effect on Major League Soccer's biggest game:
Donovan Ricketts, Galaxy: In his first season with the Galaxy, Ricketts enjoyed a great amount of success. He was named the club's top defender and has been a very important part of the Galaxy's success. With Ricketts playing so well in net, it will be very hard for Real Salt Lake to gain momentum on offense.
Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake: In the Real Salt Lake net, Rimando will be trying to keep the Galaxy's powerful offense from scoring. Rimando has been playing in the MLS since 2000 and has had a very good season. In Real Salt Lake's semifinal victory over Chicago, Rimando made three saves on penalty shots. A team needs its goalie to play well, and Rimando is playing his best soccer of the season.
Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake: Every team needs a player like Beckerman. A crafty veteran midfielder, Beckerman was named the team captain heading into this season. He may not be the flashiest player on the field, but he does everything he needs to do to help his team win. Beckerman is a great passer and you won't find anybody in the league who works harder.
Gregg Berhalter, Los Angeles Galaxy: At 36 years old, Berhalter will be one of the oldest players on the field on Sunday. He spent most of his career playing overseas, but was a key defender for the Galaxy this year. He's not as fast as he was early in his career, but he makes up for his lack of speed with years of experience and toughness.
Even though these players are not necessarily globally-known superstars, they have the opportunity on Sunday to etch their name into the MLS history books and help lead their teams to a championship.
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