Sunday, November 20, 2011
MLS CUP: Donovan gives L.A. the crown
By Scott French
David Beckham reacts while teammates celebrate Landon Donvan's second-half goal.
CARSON -- Landon Donovan finished a feed from Robbie Keane in the 71st minute, and the Galaxy completed arguably its best campaign, claiming its third MLS Cup championship with a 1-0 victory Sunday night over the Houston Dynamo.
Donovan, who had last scored in early September, slipped Keane's pass inside the far post as the Galaxy, dominant from the opening whistle, thrilled a crowd of 30,281, the largest to see a soccer game at Home Depot Center.
The Galaxy added the trophy, named after its owner, Philip Anschutz, to those won in 2002 and 2005 -- and to the Supporters' Shield they captured as Major League Soccer's regular-season champion.
Todd Dunivant's throw-in from the left wing led to the goal. David Beckham got his head to it, nodding it onto Keane's path heading toward Houston's goal. Keane stepped past Dynamo center back Bobby Boswell, then split Boswell and Geoff Cameron with a little ball for the streaking Donovan.
Donovan, who moved up front when Chris Birchall came on for Adam Cristman in the 57th minute, redirected the ball past goalkeeper Tally Hall and inside the the right post.
The goal was Donovan's record 20th in MLS postseason play and his fourth in an MLS Cup final -- to go with three scored in San Jose's 2001 and 2003 title-game wins.
L.A. dominated the match, taking advantage of a mismatch on the right in MVP finalist Brad Davis' absence. Neither Corey Ashe, who moved into Davis' spot on the left wing, nor Jermaine Taylor, who took Ashe's place at left back, could contend with Donovan and Sean Franklin during the first half.
Cristman missed two open headers from Beckham crosses in the first half -- nodding a corner kick wide and a ball at the left post, under duress from Andre Hainault, over the crossbar -- and Keane was a handful from the start, finding space on the right in the first half and down the middle in the second.
Beckham nearly made it 2-0 in stoppage, but Hall parried his free kick headed to the upper-right corner.
MLS Cup 2011
Home Depot Center (Carson)
Galaxy 1, Houston Dynamo 0 LA -- Landon Donovan (Robbie Keane, David Beckham) 71
Galaxy: Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Todd Dunivant; Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee; Adam Cristman (Chris Birchall, 57), Robbie Keane. Unused subs: Gregg Berhalter, Paolo Cardozo, Frankie Hejduk, Jovan Kirovski, Michael Stephens, Donovan Ricketts.
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Jermaine Taylor; Danny Cruz (Colin Clark, 77), Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo, Corey Ashe (Je-Vaughn Watson, 84); Calen Carr (Carlo Costly, 66), Brian Ching. Unused subs: Will Bruin, Tyler Deric, Hunter Freeman, Eddie Robinson.