MLS Cup 2012: Beckham ends MLS sojourn in style
?After having one of the worst possible starts to an MLS season, LA Galaxy had turned their luck around to win the MLS Cup for the second year in a row. Only winning 2 games out of their first 16 of the season, many had ruled out the former champions of having any chance at winning the cup this year. But the players continued to play with belief and hope and once their invincible back four was back, they started to play like champs again.
After the playoffs were done and dealt with and the audience of the MLS knew who was in the final, many were wondering whether this match would be a case of Déjà vu. With the Dynamo having the upper hand over LA this season, but LA having the more belief after last year’s finals, it left everyone wondering who could win this year’s cup. With both teams coming into the final in top form, it was impossible for people to pick out which team would win it.
This was David Beckham’s very last game for the LA side and he wanted nothing more than a win. And not only did they win, but they won with an almighty bang! Beckham set up the Galaxy’s first goal and was met with a fervent and gratifying goodbye by fans when he was subbed off after Robbie Keane’s penalty.
After Houston started the game in front of a very boisterous crowd of 30,515, they followed it up with a very tight chance from Ricardo Clark. LA was close to giving away a heart-wrenching chance. David Beckham set up a long ball for Robbie Keane who passed it to Donovan just outside the box, but he kicked it just wide of the goal – inviting huge groans from the home fans.
With nearly LA’s whole team in the box, David Beckham took a free kick in the 19th minute which Mike Magee sent just high from a low header – bringing out another groan from LA fans, and another sigh of relief from Houston’s travelling mass. Kofi Sarkodie sent the ball just high of the goalpost as he dodged Marcelo Sarvas to have a good go at goal 5 minutes after Mike Magee’s wasteful header.
Just a minute before half time, Calen Carr scored a wonder goal for the Houston Dynamo.
After receiving a long ball from his team mates, Carr revved past Tommy Meyer to tip the ball over Josh Saunders with his right foot. It was a crucial goal before half time to put the Orange Crushs up by one.
Instead of Houston accelerating in the second half though, it was the LA Galaxy who fastened the play. Robbie Keane could have equalised things for the home side as he cracked the ball into the net from David Beckham but the offside flag was up to cut celebrations short for the boys in white.
The equaliser came just 12 minutes later. It wasn’t Donovan, Keane or even Beckham, but Omar Gonzalez who scored! After the former MLS defender of the year tore his ACL – resulting in him missing the first half of the MLS season – he came back to score in the MLS cup, a decisive equaliser and his second goal of the season. Juninho sent the ball flying into the area as Gonzalez jumped up to slam the ball with his head past the Dynamo goalkeeper.
After a corner from David Beckham, Omar sent the ball towards goal for a second time and Robbie smashed the ball into the net. Again, the offside flag was up due to Omar holding his player back as he went to head the ball.
But with white, blue and yellow confetti still fluttering in the air, the LA Galaxy were awarded a penalty. Colin Clark was pulled up for a hand ball after Mike Magee’s bicycle kick towards the goal. Landon Donovan stepped up to the plate and shattered the ball into the net as he converted the penalty in incredible fashion. For what could be Donovan’s last penalty for LA, he kicked it like he was in training.
Just after Keane’s legendary goal celebration, the whistle sounded and the residents of LA were hit with an earthquake of excitement. LA Galaxy were rewarded with their fourth MLS cup title – their second in two years.
Omar Gonzalez also won the Volkswagen MVP award!
Through such festivities comes sadness for LA Galaxy. They may have just gained a prized possession, but they’ve also lost a legend like no other. David Beckham has been a celebrated part of the LA team for five years now, winning them back to back MLS titles.
Also joining the Galaxy, the Englishman won the Supporters Shield in 2010 and 2011, the MLS Western Conference Title in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and the Winners playoffs in 2009 too. He continued to believe and love the team he was playing with through all the discouraging lows and glorious highs.
Landon Donovan’s future at the Galaxy still remains unknown as he has not made a statement about the prospect of continuing at the club – a saddening cliff hanger for the LA fans and club.
Even though this may be the last time the unconquerable trio of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane will stand on a podium together as part of the LA Galaxy, there’s no doubt that this emotional moment will be theirs to relish for years to come.
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