Beckham's US adventure ends with victory
LOS ANGELES (AFP) –
The Los Angeles Galaxy rallied with three goals in the second half to capture a second straight MLS Cup crown with a 3-1 win over Houston in David Beckham’s farewell match in North America.
Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan scored goals for the heavily-favoured Galaxy who clinched their fourth MLS Cup title by beating the Dynamo for the second consecutive year.
Beckham’s final game, which was played in intermittent rain, started out as a low-key farewell with no festivities before the game to honour the football icon.
But he walked off to massive cheers from the crowd of 30,000 at the Home Depot Center after the Galaxy, trailing 0-1 at the interval, came alive in the second half.
Republic of Ireland forward Keane appeared to have scored off a free kick from Beckham early in the second half but he was ruled offside.
Galaxy’s Gonzalez made it 1-1 in the 60th minute with a header as he beat two Houston defenders in the air before floating the ball over goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Donovan gave the Galaxy their first lead five minutes later from the penalty spot.
The Galaxy were awarded the penalty after a handball by Houston’s Ricardo Clark.
Keane capped the scoring with a goal off a penalty kick in injury time, firing a low shot into the net.
After Keane’s goal, Beckham was taken out of the game to a massive ovation. He walked over to the sidelines and hugged coach Bruce Arena.
Beckham, credited with helping raise football’s profile in the US sports landscape in his half-dozen seasons here, hadn’t even received the biggest cheer when the Galaxy players were introduced.
That went to Galaxy captain Donovan, although those cheers quickly turned to groans as Donovan missed an open goal in the 13th minute from six yards out after taking a perfect pass from Keane.
Beckham set up the play with a long pass up the left side to wide open Keane.
Moments later Houston’s Brad Davis went down at midfield after taking a knee to the head from Beckham.
Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders was forced to make a couple of huge saves in the first half. In the 27th minute he just got a hand on a Kofi Sarkodie shot from in close to deflect it over the bar.
Houston’s Calen Carr opened the scoring just before halftime with a nice run down the right side before slipping the ball between Saunders and the near post.
Carr used his speed to get open then outmuscled Galaxy defender Tommy Meyer to get off a hard shot to the top of the net that beat a falling Saunders.