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Major League Soccer (MLS)

Major League Soccer (MLS) - There was no David Beckham or Thierry Henry on the field for Major League Soccer’s 15th championship game – and the first to be held outside of the United States – but in the end it mattered little as the two finalists illustrated perfectly that you don’t need the sport’s biggest stars to be successful.

An own goal in extra time from FC Dallas defender George John – twinned with a game-saving stop from Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens as John looked to atone in the 120th minute – was enough to hand MLS its ninth different champion at Toronto’s BMO Field Sunday night, where an announced crowd of 21,700 braved the cold to watch Colorado win 2-1 to lift their first MLS Cup.

While teams such as the New York Red Bulls and Los Angeles Galaxy – and to a lesser extent Toronto FC with Julian de Guzman – try to build around star power as a blueprint for potential success, the two finalists have followed a different route, eschewing high-salaried designated players for solid teams and distinct styles of play, the kind of foundation Juergen Klinsmann has been hired to deliver to BMO Field.

That road may not make the pair box-office successes – both Colorado and Dallas languished in the league’s bottom five for home stadium attendance this season – but it was certainly sufficient to propel them all the way to the season’s final match.

And in David Ferreira, the midfield general who pulls the strings for Dallas, the Texas team could argue it has something even more valuable than the likes of Beckham, Henry and the rest of the designated players.

Major League Soccer (MLS)

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