Soccer Championship Big Night For The Few, The Fervent.

Sunday night, the Colorado Rapids take on FC Dallas (that's FC as in "Football Club") for the championship of Major League Soccer, the MLS Cup. Host Liane Hansen talks with David Henry Sterry, co-author of The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatic's Guide, about the championship game and how the issue of parity, or competitive balance, has affected the league.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

A professional sports league will stage its annual championship game tonight. It will be broadcast live to a nationwide audience on a major cable network. A sellout crowd is expected in Toronto. No idea what we're talking about? Don't worry, not many people beyond the 21,000 ticketholders and a relatively few rabid fans do.

Tonight, the Colorado Rapids take on FC Dallas - that's FC as in Football Club - for the championship of Major League Soccer, the MLS Cup.

A few months ago, during the World Cup of soccer, we contacted David Henry Sterry, co-author of "The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatic's Guide." He's on the phone from Phoenix, Arizona. Welcome back.

Mr. DAVID HENRY STERRY (Co-Author, "the Glorious World Cup: A Fanatic's Guide"): It's great to be here. Thank you so much.

HANSEN: OK. So, the World Cup, glorious. The MLS Cup, not so much. Does that sum it up?

Mr. STERRY: Well, yes, in a certain sense it kind of does. Right now in Major League Soccer and ESPN offices, executives are gnashing their teeth and pulling out their hair and moaning about how cruel the soccer gods are because David Beckham and Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry will not be playing in the final in Toronto. And that was going to make it sexy. It was going to be sexy again, but now it's not so much.

HANSEN: But what about the game? I mean, will it at least be a good game?

Mr. STERRY: Oh, I'm really looking forward to it. First of all, I used to live in Dallas, so for me the idea that FC Dallas is going to be hotter than the Cowboys, to me, it's just like I'm in a little piece of ecstasy for me. But, you know, I do think it's going to be a great game.

Recently, in the World Series - Major League Baseball - was hoping that the Yankees and the Phillies, but we've seen those guys already, same with this game. We know who Landon Donovan is. We know who David Beckham is. I think it's going to introduce a whole new cast of characters.

There's a guy named David Ferreira who is, like, four-foot-nine. He's like a Colombian hobbit. He's a tiny little fellow but he's a phenomenal soccer player. He's the most valuable player of the league. And he scored an amazing goal against the Galaxy, against L.A. This is going to, hopefully, put him on the map.

HANSEN: Who does Ferreira play for?

Mr. STERRY: Dallas.

HANSEN: So, you've got Dallas in the blood. Nothing on the Rapids?

Mr. STERRY: Oh no, no. They're the little train that could. They have some great players. They were sort of lucky to reach the final. They have a player named Kosuke Kimura who scored basically a seeing eye goal that got them through. And they have Pablo Mastroeni, who's a U.S. national team player that we all know. They are definitely the underdog, but I see Dallas taking the game, I do.

HANSEN: Getting out the word about soccer. David Henry Sterry is a co-author, with Alan Black, of "The Glorious World Cup: A Fanatic's Guide." The MLS Cup kicks off tonight at 8:30 Eastern time on ESPN. David, thanks.

Mr. STERRY: It has been a pleasure, as always.

HANSEN: This is NPR News.

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