Monday, November 21, 2011

Galaxy Win MLS Cup 2011 in a Dream Final

The 2011 MLS Cup Final was won in a dream fashion. The LA Galaxy capped off an incredible season where they won the Supporters Shield, achieved success in the CONCACAF Champions League and impressed everyone with their quality throughout. With the 1-0 win over a resistant Houston Dynamo the Galaxy secured their third MLS Cup and did so in front of 30,281 screaming fans who weathered the rain. Add to that the Cup comes in David Beckham's final year of contract and you have a great many storylines to look through.

The Home Depot Center was alive with fans cheering throughout the night. Landon Donovan grabbed the goal in the 72nd minute though a gorgeous build-up of passing between the Designated Players of LA. David Beckham flicked on a brilliant ball to Robbie Keane who beat his defender and played the ball in to Donovan. It was there that Landon went in on goal and chipped Tally Hall to the side with a picture perfect play ending in a goal.

That goal would be all the Galaxy needed as the game ended in the 1-0 win. It was almost fitting that the Galaxy would win by one as that's been Bruce Arena's game for years. The win was Arena's third MLS title and certainly redeems the 2009 loss in penalty kicks. Fitting as well that Donovan scored the goal in this match after missing a PK in 2009 against Real Salt Lake. The goal was Donovan's 20th career postseason goal and was voted the games MVP.

The Galaxy controlled the game from minute one. They took control of the match and attacked the Dynamo with zeal. The boys from LA removed all doubt that this match would be a conservative battle as they proceeded to rip apart the Dynamo backline. To Houston's credit, they held strong for 72 minutes. Bobby Boswell was exposed as was Jermaine Taylor, but they were supported well by a hampered Geoff Cameron. Cameron's play was influenced by a knock to his knee in the first half. Still he played well.

Houston was without Brad Davis who was sorely missed. To be without him and still show well in a final is a credit to the squad. They were outgunned in the final and were still composed. Perhaps most impressive, the game was very clean throughout. Even after the whistle the Dynamo players and fans were extremely gracious in defeat. They shook hands well, celebrated their opponents and cheered on their traveling fans. A true credit to the entire Dynamo organization and Dominic Kinnear. Well done Houston.

In regards to David Beckham, we do not know yet that it was his last game in MLS but we do know that his time here was a success. Despite the rough start, Beckham took his last two years seriously and gave everything on the field. The win certainly showed David's dedication to his craft. The man is a winner and after winning titles in England, Spain and now MLS, he's justified to say he's earned the respect of naysayers.

There were many storylines on the night and several not discussed in this write up. MLS has come a long way from their humble beginnings in 1996. For three DP's to play well in front of a sold out crowd, celebrate with the best coach in American history and put on display some of the best soccer we've seen in MLS from any one team, a true credit to the Galaxy and MLS.

For more on these topics, check out Total Soccer Show, where I make an early appearance to help the boys discuss the final.

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