Galaxy rally to repeat as MLS Cup champions

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

CARSON, Calif. — In the end, the LA Galaxy gave David Beckham the fairytale finish he was hoping for.

The Galaxy repeated as MLS Champions on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Houston Dynamo, 3-1, at the Home Depot Center in a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup final. The Galaxy fell behind just before halftime courtesy of a strike from Calen Carr, but they responded with three goals in the second half to win their league record-tying fourth MLS Cup title in Beckham’s final MLS game.

Man of the Match Omar Gonzalez started the comeback by scoring off a header to pull LA level, and Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane both converted penalty kicks to give the Galaxy a second straight championship.

“We didn’t start very well but we came good when it was the important time,” said Beckham. “Today is a special day for us to win another championship in front of home fans in our home in front of our friends our family. It’s very special.”

Houston took the lead on the stroke of halftime, as Carr punished the Galaxy back line with his speed on a counter attack before beating goalkeeper Josh Saunders with a strong finish in a back-and-forth first half.

While Carr’s goal put the Dynamo in a dream scenario at the intermission, the visitors came out flat in the second half. Robbie Keane scored from close range off a free kick from Beckham minutes into the second half, but it was whistled back for offside.

It was still a sign of things to come.

“There was actually more silence than normal during this halftime,” said Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee. “It seemed a bit weird, but when we got called to go play you saw it in everyone’s eyes. Everyone was ready.”

Houston’s attack also suffered a big blow near the hour-mark as Carr had to be removed because of injury, and that allowed the Galaxy’s back line a chance to settle down.

Then the equalizer arrived.

Following a corner kick from Beckham that was cleared out, Juninho whipped in a cross from the right flank in the 60th minute. Gonzalez rose up to meet the Brazilian’s diagonal ball and he nodded it over a full-stretched Tally Hall.

“(Head coach Bruce Arena) said the next goal is going to win the game,” said Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant. “We get a goal and it turns things around and puts them on their heels a little bit and that’s how we looked at it.

“We knew we had the firepower, we knew we had to keep them from getting chances and they had a couple half-chances here and there, but for the most part we kept them in front of us and did a good job of limiting their space in behind other than the goal. We got that goal and the momentum carried us.”

With the crowd of 30,510 pushing them on, the Galaxy searched for a winner and they did not have to wait long to find it. A penalty kick was whistled against Ricardo Clark in the 65th minute for a hand ball in the 18-yard box, and Landon Donovan converted the ensuing shot by going low and to his right while Hall guessed the wrong way.

“I don’t know if I want to cry or throw up, one of the two,” said Dynamo head coach Dom Kinnear. “We played well. Last year you can hold your hand up and say we didn’t really get going. We played well today and we gave ourselves a chance to win the game.”

The Dynamo threw numbers forward while looking for an equalizer, but they were never the same without Carr’s speed. That allowed the Galaxy to counter attack with great success, and they put the game away in stoppage time.

Hall was called for a foul in the penalty area after clipping Keane on a breakaway, and Keane converted the ensuing spot kick to assure the Galaxy would repeat as champions.

“It’s surreal, to be honest,” said Donovan, who stunningly missed a chance from point-blank range in the 13th minute. “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.

“That’s the sign of a champion and we showed that again today.”

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS Cup, MLS- Houston Dynamo, MLS- LA Galaxy. Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Galaxy rally to repeat as MLS Cup champions

  1. VADCUfan says:

    Regardless of today, 12 (is still) >11. !VAMOS United!

    • Edwin in LA says:

      You mean that very meaningless Copa Interamericana that was last played the year DC won it? lol

      Well yes DC has 1 more….but DC hasn’t mattered for a while….and what matters is the present when you’re that close. I am very glad to see them come back to the playoffs and contend so well despite the horrible injuries and other situations they suffered like the crap no call in Houston…..

      I do PRAY they get a Stadium done next to the Nationals tho….get it done damn it (talking to city and team btw) DC is beyond worthy of it….freaking SJ has their own SSS I wouldn’t be surprised if in 3 or 4 years DC doesn’t have a home, Vancouver gets their ocean front SSS or some sort of 25-30K SSS in central Vancouver. DC needs a home

    • AzTeXan says:

      If MLS is mimicking MLB’s early years, then LAG are becoming the Yankees if they aren’t already.

    • Chupacabra says:

      United was the best MLS team in the B.C. (Before Chivas) era. The Galaxy is the best team in the A.D. era (Anno “in the year of” Donovan). Basically DC United’s reputation as champions is ancient history.

  2. Brian says:

    end of an era. hats off to Houston for making it a physical affair but the Galaxy came out in the second half like Champs and simply took over.
    VAMOS GALAXY! BACK TO BACK CHAMPS!

    • AzTeXan says:

      LAG are just too deep of a team for Houston. Once Carr got hurt they completely fell apart and had no chance. Even with him healthy they likely needed at least two goals to win.

  3. Skeeter says:

    yawn

  4. ed - houston says:

    well, that sucks but no surprise. i am still glad it was the galaxy and not seattle.

    • Gnarls says:

      You and me both, buddy. I’m a Gs fan, so obviously that’d suck, but can you imagine the insufferable arrogant jibber-jabber if Seattle won the Cup? Oy.

      • chris_thebassplayer says:

        You’re absolutely right, win or lose they’re insufferable, but it’s mainly the dudes…Their very beautiful traveling female fans are never insufferable and are always welcome in SJ.

  5. AussieMLS says:

    MLS Soccer is an intriguing sport. There’s physicality, drama, but in the end the Los Angeles Galaxy win with penalty kicks.

  6. Hogatroge says:

    Does suck… I guess that fortuitous, game-changing handball call was karmic payback for the non-call on Hainault in the East finals.

    Still, the atrocious commentary pissed me off the whole match. By the commentary alone (especially in the 1st half), you would think the “heavily favored Galaxy” were dominating, when really they were outpossessed ~60% to 40% and outshot (inc. on goal).

    Sad that two PKs decided this, even if they were the right call.

  7. The Imperative Voice says:

    Perhaps it will get through to Kinnear that the defense is not good enough for this particular task, as LA has eliminated us repeatedly in 2009, 2011, and this year. A particular element LA has that exposes us is speed. At which point it matters Boswell (and Hainault) is molasses slow.

    Perhaps it will get through to Kinnear that the offense is too dependent on wide play that worked right into the hands of tall Gonzo and Meyer. I mean, that’s 1 goal in 3 shots at LA, and they routinely shut down our targets. But since we’ve not signed a true playmaker since DeRo, we spent way too much time aimlessly passing around the perimeter — or passing back — even though the goal was on a quick counter longball.

    I also felt like the second half showcased Arena’s superiority as a game manager. Kinnear drills a first XI and frontruns. Yeah, we got our lead, but LA came out inspired for the second half, the Dynamo unraveled after Carr went out (?!?….I mean, seriously, it’s not like we lost Messi….), and Kinnear had no tactical response. I mean, Ching may be a fan favorite but the signing was a waste of valuable money and room to improve, and throwing him on at the end of a game where Bruin had already disappeared in the target role, was pushbutton rote subbing.

    The Dynamo need to sign another forward, retire Ching, sign a CAM, release some of the CDMs they rostered in bulk, and revamp the defense. There are plenty of quality players in town but by now the lessons of struggling to score on LA and the CBs being unable to contain Keane and Donovan for 90 should be crystal clear.

    • Chupacabra says:

      Kinnear needs to stop spitting.

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      Losing Carr’s speed was a big deal. kandji was so deliberate and slow on the ball the attack just died. I was surprised to see how slow Boswell was in comparison to Keane. I was also surprised that Houston waited so long to play more direct with the game bleeding out. They were still knocking it around the perimeter with less than 10 minutes in the game. I thought Houston was fairly solid in the second half until Carr went down.

  8. Iggy says:

    A fairly entertaining game from my view. Wonder why keane didn’t handy that last penalty to beckham. Not that kea e did t deserve it.

    • Andrew says:

      Are you sure you want an Englishman to take a penalty?

    • Gnarls says:

      Everyone sitting around me at the stadium said the same thing. Would have been a great way to end his MLS career.

      • Rory Miller says:

        By blowing it high above the bar and leaving the Dynamo in the game a bit longer?

      • Andrew says:

        I honestly don’t think sinking a PK is that great of a way to end a career. Beckham did, in this game, the pivotal part he’s played in his time at Galaxy: he distributed the ball brilliantly.

        As a G’s fan, I don’t know how we’re going to replace that.

  9. manny rivademar says:

    I am very upset with the Dynamo loss. I really felt they had the momentum to see this through to its finish. i am not taking anything away from the Galaxy. they played a good game and ultimately deserved to win. I always felt the Orange were thin at forward. Management has promised the faithful for several years that they were going to go “big” and bring in a big name. Boniek Garcia has been a wonderful addition but they truly need a mid fielder with vision who can distribute the ball. Bruin was practically non-existant. Ashe and Khandji make too many mistakes. Still, all things said the Orange beat some pretty good teams to get to the final. They had a good year with the papyroll they have. i hope next year it will be different.

  10. Bobb says:

    Lots of sour grapes here but as a Galaxy hater I just want to say they deserved it. Best team in the final, best team in the playoffs, best team in the second half. Gonzalez, Keane, and Donovan are just too good. Congrats to Beckham on leaving as a champion again, he has been great for the league over the last few years and deserved to go out on top.

  11. mrmaxican says:

    Damn it IVES!!!! you jinx, I should have asked you to take back your game prediction.

    Congrats to LA it was a good game. and now i wait for next year (which starts with the Carolina Challenge in February )

  12. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Donovan at the end of the game and in the interview was pure class.

    • Edwin in LA says:

      He started out with some humor, when they introduced him as LA Galaxy Forward Landon Donovan we was like “not after that first chance”

  13. Roberto says:

    All I can say is that this league is caca. I’m not a Houston fan but I cant believe LA Galaxy got to play the second consecutive final at their home depot center. Its ridiculous!!! as a foreigner living in this country who has tried to support and defend this league from other foreigners saying that it is a joke, I finally have to admit they were right. there’s no way this league is going to become attractive to anyone else other than the stupid people who continue to support it. LA are now two times champions having home advantage.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      You realize that beginning with this year, the team with the best record hosts the Cup? The only way LA got to host was by facing Houston. Any other team would have hosted.

    • Hogatroge says:

      I’m a Houston fan, too, and as obnoxious as it was that LA got to host the final again, Houston only has themselves to blame.

      We had 3 chances against the Fire to come up with a win (one win in the series = 4th place in the East & minimum 55 pts) and we settled for a whopping 2 points from 3 meetings, despite the fact that the play-in match showed who was the superior team this year.

    • Chupacabra says:

      Where do you think the final should have been played? In Toronto in a half empty stadium or in Seattle on plasticgrass?

    • bryan says:

      I suggest you review the rules regarding who hosts the Cup…

    • beachbum says:

      you sound like you don’t understand the rules

      anyway, you don’t sound like a good defender of MLS, more harm than good you bring imo

    • Gnarls says:

      You’re probably tired of defending the league because you don’t understand the rules. As has been discussed ad nauseum, the team with the best regular season record hosts the final this year. It was established long ago.

    • Bill says:

      Your friends are right , the league is a joke.

    • Andrew says:

      Given Galaxy’s regular season record, Houston practically had to work hard to NOT get to host.

      …and as an LA resident, I was super excited it was here again. :)

  14. bill says:

    I forgot to watch this game…our domestic league is basically rubbish. Let’s hope Porter can change that!

    • Hogatroge says:

      There’s no troll food on the menu… sorry.

    • Gnarls says:

      Get thee back to under thine bridge, troll.

    • Luis says:

      I watched it just to see if there was the passion and electrifying atmosphere you see in any European, South American or Mexican league final but no, there wasn’t. The crowd tried to cheer for a couple of minutes after the final whistle but then it just peetered out. It sounded and looked like the final game of a high school football season….boring, insipid and contrived.

  15. Graham says:

    It was so strange to have the owner of the losing team hand the winning team the trophy. Bizarro.

  16. el paso tx wants NASL says:

    Becks is gone, donovan is gone and keane looks like he is ready to be the captain. Now galaxy need a kaka,new goalie, and if donovan leaves…..bring on lampard or drogba

  17. Karl says:

    Team will look a lot different next year. Beckham defenitely out, and maybe Donavan and Omar.

  18. beachbum says:

    Great to see Omar Gonzalez get the recognition he deserves on that team of stars and win the MVP. He earned it, and throughout the playoffs, and really since he returned and changed this Galaxy team. As he rounded into ever better form so did his team

    • AzTeXan says:

      Unfortunate that the LA fans were chanting US reject at him though. Uncalled for.

      • Dan says:

        when the hell did Galaxy fans ever chant us reject to Omar? Are you out of ur mind, we LOVE him here

      • wfrw07 says:

        Pretty sure they were chanting that at Brad Davis throughout the match.

      • Shake says:

        They chant that at ching, not Omar.

      • beachbum says:

        you misunderstood obviously :)

        we LOVE Omar!

        • AzTeXan says:

          I was joking but I do find it interesting that Shake thinks the chants were for Ching and wfrw thinks they were for Davis when I thought they were for Ricardo Clark. I guess its hard to know with so many potential candidates.

          • Shake says:

            The reason I said Ching was because about 2 years ago (back when Ching started) when they called his name the Riot Squad started chanting ‘US Reject!!’

    • chris_thebassplayer says:

      Beachbum – I agree, and I would even go one further and call Omar the Galaxy MVP for the season. As good as Keane and LD were in the second half and playoffs, without Omar the Galaxy might not have made the playoffs. The defense without him was atrocious.

  19. Dan says:

    This Galaxy will go down as the best MLS team ever, to date! The competition is so much higher than it used to be and 2 cups in a row with 3 finals in 4 years and 2 supporters shields is just insane.

    What LA does next could make them a global team.

  20. Fred says:

    One of the best weeks of ever! My 10y old son wins his league (undefeated in 20 games) could win club tomorrow, is declared an allstar and the Galaxy win #4. Only thing I need now is an announcement by Donovan saying he is not retiring! My son will wear his Donovan jerseys all week long. Cheers!

  21. Dan says:

    Historical Note: North American Division 1 Championship

    New York Cosmos 5
    D.C. United 4
    Los Angeles Galaxy 4
    San Jose Earthquakes 2
    Chicago Sting 2
    Houston Dynamo 2

  22. ThaDeuce says:

    Who’s that baby? Little Becks?