Categorized | MLS, MLS Match Reports

Galaxy send Beckham off with second straight MLS Cup

Posted on 01 December 2012 by iyeo

It wasn’t looking good for the Los Angeles Galaxy entering the second half of the 2012 MLS Cup final.

With all the hoopla surrounding the game as David Beckham’s farewell to MLS and the fact that the Galaxy were looking to repeat as champions, the Houston Dynamo threatened to crash the party in a huge way, as Calen Carr scored for Houston right before halftime.

However, considering the Galaxy had to rebound from a 3-8-1 start to the season, coming back from a one-goal deficit at halftime might feel a little easier, and that is what happened on a wet and cloudy Saturday afternoon at the Home Depot Center, as LA found the back net three times in the second half en route to its second straight MLS Cup title with a 3-1 win over the Houston Dynamo.

“It’s a little surreal to be honest,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “I think in any sport, to repeat is really hard to do. The playoff run was great, but what got us here was the turnaround in July and we have to give ourselves a lot of credit for how we did when we were down and that’s the sign of a champion and we showed that again today too.”

The win makes the Galaxy the first repeat MLS Cup champions, ironically since the Dynamo did it 2006 and 2007 and also concludes the remarkable run of the MLS career of David Beckham, who leaves the Galaxy a champion, just as he did with Manchester United in 2003 and Real Madrid in 2007.

“The feeling of making a final, the preparation, the feeling around the club, it never gets old,” Beckham said. “I’m 37, I’ve been able to play in quite few finals and championships games, and I still love it like I did when I won my first.”

The Dynamo were surely out to show that this year’s matchup would not be anywhere near like last year’s final in which Houston had barely been heard from. The Dynamo got a chance just a minute into the game, as Ricardo Clark had a ball inside the penalty area, gathered himself and quickly fired away, but was turned back by keeper Josh Saunders. The Galaxy did have one great chance to open the scoring themselves in the 13th minute when Beckham sent his trademark longball for an unmarked Robbie Keane. Keane sprinted for the Houston 18, then whipped a quick cross to a streaking Landon Donovan, but Donovan instead sent his shot wide right.

“A lot went through my mind, to be honest. When you’re in a moment like that, you feel like you let the team down because it’s not just what they do today, it’s what guys do over the whole season,” Donovan said. “You feel like you let everybody down. Candidly, it sat with me ‘til halftime and I took a few minutes at halftime, sort of collected myself and tried to stay present because we can’t change it.”

Houston continued to create chances, getting another chance in 25th minute when Brad Davis sent Kofi Sarkodie with a ball to the right, Sarkodie made his way into the 18, but his shot was parried away by Saunders. The Dynamo finally got that elusive first goal in the 44th minute when midfielder Adam Moffat sprung Calen Carr with a long ball, Carr then sprinted into the penalty area and sent his shot past keeper Josh Saunders into the back net to send the Dynamo fans into a frenzy and stake Houston to a 1-0 lead.

“We had great chances tonight before they scored their goal, so we weren’t sitting back,” Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Sometimes teams have run of play, it’s not all a one-way street. We did good with [David] Beckham, they had their moments when they’re breaking, which they normally do. We just told our guys, when we have the ball that the communication is very smart because when it does turn over, they’re very dangerous.”

The Galaxy thought it had the equalizer in the 49th minute when Robbie Keane put one int the back net, but was called back as Keane was offside. LA continued to persist and eventually tied the game in the 61st minute. A Beckham corner was punched out by Hall, Beckham tracked it down, played it to right back Sean Franklin, who then found an open Juninho on the right side. Juninho then chipped a ball back into the penalty area towards Omar Gonzalez and the Center Back, who turned in a dominant performance in the backline, headed the ball past keeper Tally Hall into the far post netting for the equalizer. The Galaxy then got its chance for the lead in the 65th minute when a bicycle kick attempt by Mike Magee was handled by Ricardo Clark in the penalty area, the call was made and Landon Donovan made amends for his missed chance earlier in the match by doing what he does best; convert the penalty, as he went right while Hall guessed left and the Home Depot Center erupted.

“I’m not going to fool anyone and say I was calm about it, I was pretty nervous,” Donovan said. “You have to keep going and every one of these guys after that said ‘forget about it, keep going, keep going’ and I’m very appreciative of that.”

Houston fought for the equalizer, but the Galaxy were able to make the plays when needed, and LA got its chance to put the trophy on ice in stoppage time, as Hall tripped up Robbie Keane in the penalty area, giving LA another penalty, Keane himself stepped up to the penalty spot, and while Hall guessed right this time, he still wasn’t able to stop Keane from converting the penalty to seal the championship for Los Angeles.

“It kind of epitomizes our season. They score first, and we have to come back,” Galaxy Left Back Todd Dunivant said. “Having to come back and battle back, overcome adversity, it was a microcosm of our whole season.”

Indeed it was for the 2012 Los Angeles Galaxy, who clearly were still going through a hangover from last season’s championship, even as Arena made some changes for the start of the season, such as bringing back striker Edson Buddle and bringing back midfielder Juninho on another loan. Still, the Galaxy stumbled off to a 3-8-1 start as LA clearly missed the presence of Omar Gonzalez, who suffered an ACL team while training with Nuremberg int he offseason. However, LA showed signs of life the very week it came back from a lengthy international break when it won three matches in a week’s time and there was no turning back for Los Angeles, as they went 13-4-5 the remainder of the season, good enough for a fourth place finish, then gutted out a one-game playoff win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, then came from behind to upset the Supporters’ Shield winning San Jose Earthquakes in the Conference semifinals and outlasted Seattle in the conference final before having to come from behind again on Saturday to eventually being the last team standing after yet another grueling MLS Campaign.

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