It was a return to the Home Depot Center for the 2012 MLS Cup final as we saw the same two sides face each other. But this time the Houston Dynamo had their all their top players healthy and ready to go for another attempt at a third trophy.
For the Los Angeles Galaxy this final had a different feel to it as this would be the official swan song in the Major League Soccer career of former England International Midfielder David Beckham as he is ready to move on to either another league or possibly retirement and a long vacation.
But after what looked to be a fantastic first half for the Dynamo, buoyed by a Calen Carr tally, you thought the great sendoff was going to be erased. But once again the Galaxy showed why they are the defending MLS Cup champions as they showed their metal.
Two goals in a span of five minutes for the Galaxy were converted after a knee knock by Omar Gonzalez accidentally got the back of Carr’s left knee. This forced Houston’s most active player out of the match and the comeback was on. A perfect cross from Juninho on the continuation from a corner found Gonzalez by the far post. His solid header leveled the match at one a piece in the 60th minute.
It was a shame for Tally Hall who couldn’t keep that chance out of the net, because on the moment before that he stopped a corner by David Beckham curling inside that same far post. But in the 65th minute the momentum had changed forever as the Galaxy kept on taking shots at the Dynamo net till referee of the year Silviu Petrescu pointed towards the spot.
Ricardo Clark was helping Hall defend the net and when the rebound chance was shot right at him, the ball struck his right arm and the Galaxy were about to take the lead. On replay it looked like the ball hit his side then struck his arm, but never the less it was a penalty. Landon Donovan took the spot kick and converted for the lead.
The Dynamo threw everything and the kitchen sink at Josh Saunders to try and level the score again, but this time there would be no equalizer coming and the final goal of the match came from the spot again as Robbie Keane was fouled in second half stoppage time by Tally Hall.
Keane converted the third goal of the final and then Bruce Arena decided to sub out David Beckham who had a standing ovation from the Los Angeles Galaxy crowd. After the final whistle blew the Galaxy won their second consecutive title and their fourth in club history tying DC United for most MLS Cup in league history.
While it showed that the Dynamo wasn’t the same when Brad Davis couldn’t play in last year’s final due to injury, somehow the injury to Calen Carr took the wind out of the Dynamo’s sails in the second half and the Galaxy took advantage.
But as we know that David Beckham will ride off into the sunset, what will be of Landon Donovan? Will this also be the end of his career or maybe he just needs a full two months off to recharge the batteries and get back into the swing of things for 2013?
For now we don’t know, but what we do know is that the Galaxy had a bad start, a decent middle and a fantastic finish to the 2012 season of Major League Soccer.
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