After a trying and bumpy season, David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy concluded their season with another MLS Cup title defeating the Houston Dynamo 3-1.
The Galaxy and the Dynamo faced each other once again for that esteemed MLS Cup, in fornt of a sold out 30,000 plus wild crowd at Home Depot Center. The two team began the game feeling each other out up until the Galaxy began to attack. In the 13th minute, on a long pass from David Beckham to a sprinting Robbie Keane who set up an outstanding pass to Landon Donovan kicked a shot just slightly to the right of the goal. Obviously disappointed on the attempt, the Galaxy began to regroup despite not getting the referee calls their way.
When you’re in a moment like that, you feel like you let the team down,” Donovan said. “Candidly, it sat with me until halftime.”
The Galaxy were creating opportunities to score and just not capitalizing on them against the Dynamo. The Dynamo continued to add pressure in the first half, when a long pass by Adam Moffat set up Calen Carr’s outstanding goal past goalkeeper Josh Saunders to take the 1-0 lead in the 44th minute. Carr jumped towards the corner flag in celebration of his score. Carr had only four goals on the seasons since joining the club last year.
The Galaxy had trailed 1-0 in previous series when they faced Vancouver and San Jose which resulted in victories.
With another 45 minutes left before Beckham’s final departure, the Galaxy truly had their work cut out for them.
Keane and Beckham led the Galaxy charge as the 6 foot 5 Omar Gonzalez dominated over Kofie Sarkodie to score the tying goal in the 61st minute. Gonzalez was the top defender in the MLS last season, and his return from a devestaing injury only fired up the other Galaxy players.
After colliding in a knee to knee hit with Gonzalez, Carr went down grabbing his right knee for several minutes. He eventually was subbed out by Macoumba Kandji, and unfortunately Carr would not return for the game. He would have to watch his team battle from the sidelines.
With a huge momentum shift, the Dynamo’s Ricardo Clark was called for handball in the box during the 65th minute of play after a defensive scramble by Houston.
That allowed a penalty kick and Landon Donovan connected and made good on that gave the Galaxy the 2-1 lead. That was his fifth MLS Cup goal an the 22nd record goal of his postseason career. Donovan redeemed himself from the earlier miss in the first half.
Later on Keane attacked the goal when Houston defender Tally Hall knocked him down in the box which set up a penality kick during stoppage time. Keane connected on the goal that gave the Galaxy the 3-1 lead, which was his sixth postseason league leading goal.
The Dynamo desperately scrambled for goals and twice goalkeeper Josh Saunders did an amazing job defending the net late in the second half. Beckham was subbed out just minutes prior to the game concluding. As he exited the field he was greeted by hugs from his teammates, and on the sidelines by coach Bruce Arena and other teammates on the bench. The crowd gave Beckham a rousing standing ovation, filled with cheers and elation as they said good bye their superstar that would forever change the face of soccer in this country.
This was destiny that the Houston Dynamo nor the rains that had plagued Southern California a day earlier could dampen. The Galaxy emerged as the champion once again defeating the Dynamo 3-1.
Beckham could ride into the sunset knowing he was not only a back to back champ, but created opportunities for this team and league to continue to grow in many ways. The city of Los Angeles saw another championship before their eyes thanks to the grit and immaculate play of their Los Angeles Galaxy.
As the team gathered at midfield to raise their well earned MLS Cup for a second straight year, the 37 year old Beckham reminisced over the win and his career. “It’s been a successful six years here, and now that we’ve won the second one, it’s even more satisfying. I just hope people have enjoyed me playing here. It’s what I always hope for when I step on the field.”
The Galaxy (2002, 2005, 2011, 2012) now are tied with DC United as the only teams in the MLS with four titles. The team is only one of three in the league to win back to back titles.
Landon Donovan joined elite company longtime league players Jeff Agoos and Brian Mullan as the only players to win four or more MLS Cup titles in their careers.
“It’s a little surreal,” Donovan said. “In any sport, to repeat is really hard to do. For me personally, this felt more satisfying than last year. We could enjoy this a little bit more.”
When asked about his future in the MLS and with the Galaxy, Donovan said “I have to listen to my heart, and right now my gut says to get away for a while. I had a really nice moment where my sister got to come down on the field and the baby was sleeping on her, and it sort of puts it all in perspective and makes me realize I want to be closer to my family for a while and then figure out the soccer later.”
As for Beckham who was seen celebrating with his kids on the field, its anyone’s guess where he’ll end up playing soccer again right now. However he will reveal where he’ll play again before the end of the year. It’s been rumored he’d play anywhere between Australia, Europe, or even some where in Asia. Beckham has been very tight lipped on what his plans were other than saying he’d like to own a team at some point in the MLS, and still be involved in the league.
Galaxy coach and GM Bruce Arena on coaching David Beckham, “we know him off the field… He’s a great player, he’s a great colleague, a great friend, and a wonderful family man. It’s been wonderful to have this opportunity, and its something that will last with me.”
Arena also believe once Donovan gets some rest and reflects a little bit that he will be back on a soccer field again.
Omar Gonzalez won MVP honors with his outstanding play on the field against the Dynamo.
This was the last team fans will see one of the greatest trios in Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan, and David Beckham will play on the same field together.