It turns out overloading on stars can pay off in the MLS. Landon Donovan scored with a brilliant finish off tremendous build-up from the LA Galaxy’s three stars for the only goal in the Galaxy’s 1-0 MLS Cup final win over the Houston Dynamo.
LA dominated a Houston team that was missing their best player in Brad Davis and played with Geoff Cameron limping much of the match. Still the league’s regular season champion could not put the ball in the back of the net and you had to wonder if Houston would luck themselves into a goal and spoil the potential swan song of David Beckham.
Things looked more and more against LA when Robbie Keane had a goal ruled out for offside when it looked he was clearly even with the last defender.
Then came the breakthrough. It started with a great flick-on by Beckham from a long ball. The header found Keane at top of the box. Credit the creativity and patience from the Ireland team captain to find Donovan. Keane could have shot from the top of the box, but instead played in the late charging Donovan who finished sublimely with the outside of his right foot, Tally Hall’s hand deflecting, but not preventing the game’s only goal.
It was a deserved win for the Galaxy and ended year’s of frustration that had seen them come up empty in the playoffs, including a penalty shootout loss in the final, in the David Beckham era. Turns out the missing ingredient was Keane who provided the necessary firepower to compliment Donovan and Beckham.
Early in the game it was all L-A and Adam Christman could have had a hat trick thanks to the passing and crossing of Beckham and Keane. Instead he put two free headers off frame and slipped inside the box when he had an open look.
Houston had a couple chances midway through the second half when Adam Moffat put a header wide and Cory Ashe hit the side netting. But the Dynamo never really had much prolonged build-up and often had to rely on last-ditch tackling and excellent keeper play from Tally Hall. Hall made an excellent save late to deny David Beckham on a late free kick and was always in command of the area throughout the match.
But it was L-A who walked off the field champions, a fitting tribute to the home fans and a perfect send off if this indeed the last game David Beckham does play in the MLS.