Sunday, October 24, 2010
Victory gives Galaxy conference, Shield titles
By Scott French
Juninho’s volley just 31 second into the second half lifted the Galaxy to a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas at Home Depot Center in their regular-season finale, giving L.A. its second successive Western Conference title and its third Supporters’ Shield.
David Beckham also tallied for the Galaxy (18-7-5), which overcame a 22nd-minute deficit. They needed at least a draw to win the conference and Shield titles after Real Salt Lake rallied Saturday night to tie Colorado.
The Galaxy will face the Seattle Sounders in the first round of the MLS playoffs. The opener will be next Sunday at Qwest Field in Seattle (ESPN 2 and ESPN Deportes, 5 p.m.), and the finale in the home-and-home series is slated for Sunday, Nov. 7 at HDC (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 6 p.m.).
The Supporters' Shield, for best regular-season record, gives the Galaxy a berth in the group phase of next season's CONCACAF Champions League.
Edson Buddle failed to score and finished second, to San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, in the Golden Boot race. Wondolowski netted his 18th goal of the season in the Earthquakes’ loss Saturday at Kansas City; Buddle’s best opportunity for his 18th, a header from Beckham’s corner kick in the 67th minute, was parried by FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala.
Former Chivas USA midfielder Atiba Harris gave Dallas the lead after a Sean Franklin giveaway, but Beckham tied the score in the 33rd after Landon Donovan got away with shoving Hoops defender Jackson Goncalves, who was shepherding the ball over the end line, and played the ball back. Beckham hit a low drive inside the left post from 20 yards.
Juninho scored the winner after Dallas defender Zach Loyd headed away a cross from Donovan.
Midfielders Chris Klein and Eddie Lewis, who are retiring, were brought at the finish.
The playoff matchups:
Galaxy (18-7-5) vs. Seattle Sounders (14-10-6)
Real Salt Lake (15-4-11) vs. FC Dallas (12-4-14)
New York Red Bulls (15-9-6) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (13-10-7)
Columbus Crew (14-8-8) vs. Colorado Rapids (12-8-10)
The Galaxy would be home for the one-game Western Conference final if it beats Seattle. The MLS Cup championship is Nov. 1 in Toronto.