David Beckham and LA Galaxy booked a place in the last four of the MLS Cup last night at the Home Depot Center. With two teams with great title expectations, It was Galaxy that came out on top. Red Bulls were without Rafa Marquez because of last Sunday’s heroics after he decided to throw the match-ball at Landon Donovan at the end of the game in the first leg last Sunday. In the result of the big bust up between both sides, that meant Galaxy were without midfielder Juninho.
It was New York Red Bulls who took an early lead after four minutes when Luke Rodgers slotted the ball past Josh Saunders in the LA goal after receiving an inch perfect through ball from Thierry Henry. Red Bulls found lots of space on the field and dominated most of the first half but couldn’t turn possession into goals. LA came close a few times when Robbie Keane hit the post and had two half chances to level. Red Bulls goalkeeper Frank Rost kept out Keane after he latched on to a rebound from a long shot and was left with the whole goal to place the ball into but at full stretch Rost somehow managed to keep out Keane. It wasn’t long until Galaxy leveled after David Beckham whipped in a corner and found the head of Mike Magee to make it 1-1 at the break.
Donovan came close early in the second half with a shot from the edge of the area but found his shot deflected wide off Rost’s left post. Not long after that, Donovan showed good defensive play after sprinting fifty yards down the field to cut out a cross from Joel Lindpere and stopping Dane Richards from getting to the ball first. Rodgers showed his speed and strength to create a one-on-one with Saunders but his shot found the side netting. Red Bulls started to run out of ideas as Beckham started to get on the ball more during the latter stages of the second half by being involved in every tackle on the field. Hans Backe was getting frustrated on the sidelines after his team were giving LA free kicks from all angles, which one nearly paid off for Keane after another Beckham free kick brushed past his head.
Beckham and LA kept the pressure on Red Bulls and it paid off in the 75th minute after full back Roy Miller decided to try and get the ball from Beckham by pushing and kicking him inside the area. This resulted in a penalty kick for LA and Donovan made no mistake in slotting it past Frank Rost to win the game 2-1 and 3-1 over the two legs.
Beckham was a star in this game. He showed fight and determination in every tackle and put his neck on the line for his team-mates throughout the game. It looked like he started to have back trouble during the game but pulled through and brought back memories of how he used to play for Manchester United. He has been a fantastic player this season for Galaxy and still shows that he could still play in the Premier League at 36. Who know where he will be after his contract ends at the end of this years playoffs.
Galaxy now play Real Salt Lake at home in the semi finals of the playoffs on Sunday.