LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo  3 - 1

Article

Beckham dream realised in Galaxy farewell

2 December 2012 04:45

David Beckham said it was his dream to achieve consecutive MLS titles in his final game with the LA Galaxy on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Englishman signed off in the perfect way after the Galaxy's 3-1 triumph over the Houston Dynamo in front of 30,510 spectators at The Home Depot Centre.

"Our goal at the start of the season was to win a championship, last year we were amazing and we did it," Beckham said.

"This year we didn't start well but we came good and we did it at the important time."

After missing a guilt-edged chance earlier in the match, captain Landon Donovan bravely stepped up to slot home a 61st-minute penalty that put the Galaxy 2-1 up.

"A lot went through my mind," Donovan said.

"When you're in a moment like that, you feel like you let the team down. Candidly, it sat with me until half-time.

"I took a few minutes at half-time, sort of collected myself and tried to stay present, because you can't change it.

"When the penalty came, I'm not going to fool anyone and say I was calm about it, I was pretty nervous."

The penalty was Donovan's 22nd in play-offs - a record - and his willingness to take on the duty took plenty of courage according to Beckham.

"It took some balls for him to step up and take that penalty," Beckham said.

"I could see what he was like after that chance leading up to half-time."

With Beckham leaving for the final frontier of his professional career and Donovan in the twilight of his career, both are yet to make a firm decision on their future.

"I haven't made a decision (on my future) in the last few days," Donovan said.

"We're going to enjoy this, go on a nice vacation and we'll figure out what's next.

"It's just been a long two years for all of us. It's not a woe-is-me story, but I have to listen to my heart and gut and right now my gut says to get away for a while."

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena admitted the loss of both Beckham and Donovan would be a huge blow but said he would accept whatever decision was made.

"I probably would be (surprised if Donovan retired)," Arena said.

"We will be fully supportive of whatever Landon wants to do. He has still so much to offer the game as a player.

"I think hopefully, with a little bit of rest, he'll be ready to get back at some point."

Article

MLS Cup final: Los Angeles 3 Houston 1

2 December 2012 01:48

David Beckham ended his stay in America on a high as Los Angeles beat Houston Dynamo 3-1 to win the MLS Cup on Saturday.

Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan scored within minutes of each other to overcome Calen Carr's 44th-minute goal, and the Galaxy added a stoppage-time penalty via Robbie Keane to capture their second consecutive MLS Cup title.

The win, in front of a sellout crowd of 30,510 at the Home Depot Center, sends Beckham out of Major League Soccer as a two-time champion.

Donovan netted the winner - his MLS record 22nd post-season goal and record fifth MLS Cup goal - from the penalty spot in the 65th minute after a scramble in the area resulted in a handball on Ricardo Clark.

That came moments after Gonzalez headed home the equaliser off a feed from Juninho.

Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall had punched away a Beckham corner kick, but the ball worked its way back to Sean Franklin and then to Juninho, who sent in a perfect ball from the right to Gonzalez, who headed home in the 61st minute.

The Dynamo had taken the lead through Carr just before half-time. Adam Moffat played the speedy forward down the right, where he beat Tommy Meyer for pace and was kept onside by Gonzalez.

Carr, who missed the Eastern Conference final series against DC United, took a touch toward goal and finished with a blast by Josh Saunders as Meyer tracked back to recover, giving Houston a huge momentum swing heading into the break.

The Galaxy had their fair share of chances to get on the board earlier in the game but couldn't convert. Donovan missed the most golden of the chances in the 13th minute. Beckham picked out Keane down the left with a trademark long pass out of the back, and the Irishman set up Donovan perfectly from point-blank range.

The Galaxy captain's first-time effort went wide of the mark, though, as confetti cannons at the ground shot off in anticipation of the finish.

The Galaxy then had another great chance in the 20th minute, with Beckham serving a pinpoint free-kick from the right to the far post, where Mike Magee's close-range header went over the bar.

Keane then had a goal waved off in the 48th minute after a redirected Beckham free-kick was sent in Keane's path, but the Irishman was in an offside position as he fired past Hall.

Keane got his in the waning seconds, though, earning a penalty on Hall off a breakaway and firing home from the penalty spot to ice the match.

With the victory, Donovan has a record-tying five MLS Cup triumphs, Bruce Arena has an MLS-record four as a coach and the Galaxy tied DC United with a league-best four MLS Cup titles.

Article

Houston relaxed approaching final, says Davis

30 November 2012 20:45

Houston Dynamo captain Brad Davis said his side are relaxed ahead of their MLS Cup final clash with the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.

The Dynamo booked their spot in the season decider courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate triumph over DC United in their Eastern Conference final.

Davis said the team are working hard, but he is keen for the players to enjoy the occasion at the Home Depot Centre on Saturday.

"I think the most important thing is to keep it the same, you don't want to change too much," he said.

"What we've been doing has been working so far and the guys are light-hearted, confident and having a good time.

"The MLS Cup is what you fight for all year long, what you put all the hard work into. You go through all the ups and downs so this week you try and soak it all in and have fun.

"We're light-hearted but we still work extremely hard and we're preparing the same way. Guys take practice very seriously but you've got to have a bit of fun and soak in the environment because it is a fun time right now."

The Dynamo are seeking revenge after losing last season's showpiece to the same opposition.

Landon Donovan's 71st-minute strike was enough to separate the two sides and hand the Galaxy their third MLS Cup title.

"One of the fortunate things is that this club has been there before," the 31-year-old said. "We've been through it and one of the things I say to the guys that haven't had the opportunity is soak it all in.

"This is a fun time and what we've worked hard for all year.

"When that game comes we've got a great group of guys that'll be ready to play the game but have some fun too, try and keep it laid-back and enjoy the atmosphere because it's a great one.

"It's the best atmosphere and can be the best feeling in the world if you get to raise that trophy at the end of the game."

Departing LA Galaxy superstar David Beckham said he is enjoying the build-up to his final match in the club shirt, and is nervous at the chance to win back-to-back championships.

"It's more excitement leading into the game," the former England international said of his emotions.

"I'm quite an emotional person so I know that I will feel more emotion probably the day of the game and maybe even the night before the game.

"I'm just really excited about the game, to be in a third MLS Cup final and especially a second one that is being played in our own stadium. I'm excited and it's going to be special."

Beckham has been linked to moves back to England, to AS Monaco and to the A-League following his imminent departure from the MLS.

MLS table

# Team MP D P
2 23 +8 42
3 24 +11 39
4 22 +13 37
5 23 +4 33
6 24 +0 31

MLS table

# Team MP D P
6 24 -3 27
7 23 -6 27
8 23 -6 25
9 23 -17 25
10 23 -18 17