So much game analysis has been covered already that instead of more, I'll continue my preview of the Western Conference for our two new players:
Dear Thierry and Rafa:
Be prepared, in your travels to the Western Conference, for great weather, great parties, and some good soccer.
LA-Galaxy- I'm sure Beckham has told you guys all about the A list parties, the beach and the women. But New York has far better A list parties, beaches and women than LA. They do have a great manager in Bruce Arena, a monster of a central defender in Omar Gonzalez, and Landon Donovan attacking the Red Bulls defense when they have the ball. Rafa, do a Cobi Jones on Landon and we should be okay.
LA-Chivas- See above about the city and as for the team, you would never know they have anything to do with Mexico other than the name.
Seattle- This is a tremendous city to visit. The fans, stadium, ownership and organization are first class. It rains 360 days a year there and the field is synthetic, so if you have any injuries, take a night off, sit in the luxury suites and enjoy the atmosphere.
San Jose- Another beautiful part of the country and you should try to make time for a drive up the coast and some wine tasting trips. I think they're still playing at a high school or college field and the team has flat lined for several years, so pick up three points before leaving town.
Houston- Aside from it not being on most vacation lists for July and August (how was your first game Thierry-pretty hot, isn't it?), it’s another terrific city. Rafa, they're going to go crazy for you here and Oscar De La Hoya owns the team, so see if he's in town when you're there. They are a little older and have slowed down a bit so if they can't catch you, they can't kick you.
Dallas- Decent team, fantastic city, beautiful stadium, but nobody cares. Evidently the Hispanic fans aren't buying this team and arena, but the stadium is making money on youth soccer, so don't expect a great atmosphere. I once almost bought a pygmy goat at the state fair in Texas, but wasn't able to get it on the flight back to New York. I hope your visit is better than mine was.
Salt Lake- This one is like out of a movie. Picturesque, great owner in Dave Checketts, spectacular stadium and very good team. Nick Rimando is the most underrated goalkeeper in the history of Major League Soccer. Tough venue to play in and tough team. Good luck.
Colorado- Arsenal connection, altitude and attitude. The Arsenal connection does nothing for them but the altitude does. As for the attitude, they are under appreciated and as a sports city, rank way down on the list. We have better sports franchises in a 15 mile radius than they have in the whole state. Aspen is beautiful and you should go back to visit when you don't have to play a game.
Shep Messing is a guest columnist for NewYorkRedBulls.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.