David Beckham and Landon Donovan ended their career with LA Galaxy on a happy note Saturday after a well-deserved MLS Cup victory. In the final match, which ended in a 3-1 win over Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy was crowned MLS Champions for their 2nd straight year and their 4th time in history.
Last year’s final was contested by the same 2 squads, which ended in a 1-0 win for the Galaxy after a late strike by American International Landon Donovan. Dynamo fans were hoping to avenge the loss, but the Galaxy still managed to retain their title as MLS Champions, securing their place as one of the best squads ever to play in the MLS.
The first half certainly didn’t go in the Galaxy’s favor. Early on, Houston Dynamo showed them they meant business after firing shot after shot at the goal, putting LA Galaxy’s defense under immense pressure. Houston finally put themselves up after a strike by Calen Carr as the game approached the end of the first half. But the game changed significantly after the goalscorer was taken off the pitch because of an injury, which was probably the cause of Dynamo’s downfall. Taking advantage of the situation, the Galaxy made a significant comeback and fought to a 3-1 victory over Dynamo, keeping the MLS Cup to themselves.
Not surprisingly, the first great chance of the game was taken by Landon Donovan. 13 minutes into the game, Beckham set up a wonderful run that could have easily put the Galaxy up. The Englishman made a deep pass to Robbie Keane, who easily avoided Dynamo’s defense as he ran toward the goal. He made a very accurate pass across the box right to teammate Landon Donovan’s feet, but his shot went just wide.
Another great chance for the Galaxy saw Mika Magee head Beckham’s free kick from just a few meters away just before the 20 minute mark. Once again, Dynamo was lucky that they were not put down 1-0, but their defense prevented Magee from applying any significant force to the shot.
Until the final minutes of the 1st half, Los Angeles seemed to be in a good position to win, but Dynamo set up the final 2 decent shots of the match, the 2nd of which found the back of the net. On the 44th minute, a beautiful pass by Adam Moffat found Calen Carr in the penalty box. With the Galaxy’s defense far behind him, Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders was the only obstacle between Carr and the goal. Carr avoided the goalie, though, and his shot flew at the roof of the goal. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, this lead only lasted for a very brief half hour.
Down 1, Galaxy were primarily in the offensive half for the beginning of the second half. Keane found the back of the net for the Galaxy in the 48th minute following Beckham’s free kick, but Keane was found just offside, keeping the score at 1-0.
Carr saw another chance to make a strike for Dynamo, but was injured in the 58th minute after a collision with an LA Galaxy defender, which directly changed the course of the game. Immediately after that, the Galaxy was given a series of corner opportunities that Dynamo was unable to clear. A whole 2 minutes saw Galaxy pound the Dynamo goal, when one of their many shots was finally successful. Juninho made a cross into the the box that found Omar Gonzalez, who jumped above the Dynamo defense and headed an unstoppable ball straight into the goal.
Dynamo was unable to do anything past the equalizer, with the ball on Houston territory the majority of the time. On the 63rd minute, another goal for LA Galaxy was not counted due to a minor foul.
But that changed absolutely nothing. The Galaxy pushed toward the Dynamo goal as the ball was handled by defender Ricardo Clark, which saw them concede a penalty. Landon Donovan stepped up to take the penalty, and his shot went in the lower-right corner as goalkeeper Tally Hall dove left, putting the Galaxy up for the remainder of the game at 66 minutes.
Dynamo tried desperately to find an equalizer, but at that point, LA Galaxy’s defense was impossible to penetrate, and they were unable to present any decent shots at the goal. With their defense currently the least of their problems, Keane was easily able to make a run into the penalty area and found himself one on one with the goalkeeper. Tally Hall was able to stop the attack, but fouled on Keane in the process, conceding yet another penalty to LA Galaxy. On the 93rd minute, Keane put the icing on the cake for Galaxy, converting the penalty and securing the MLS Cup for Los Angeles after a 3-1 win.
The win was a significant accomplishment for the Galaxy due to a very slow start to the season in the spring. After the match, Omar Gonzalez was awarded the MLS Cup MVP award as LA Galaxy fans all over the US rejoiced.
The Galaxy’s 2nd title in 2 years saw Beckham and Donovan end their career there in celebration, and although their futures are certainly a mystery, they will be forever remembered and praised by fans of LA Galaxy and the MLS.