LA Galaxy win 2011 MLS Cup

Published Monday, November 21, 2011 11:27 AM by Roberto Garcia

It went exactly as expected. Playing at their home field where they had not lost all season, the LA Galaxy beat a feisty Houston Dynamo squad 1-0 to take the 2011 MLS Cup. Landon Donovan skipped the recent pair of US National Team matches in Europe in order to be ready for this game and it was his second half goal that provided the difference. For his efforts LAndon Donovan claimed the MVP. LA pressured the Dynamo all night long and watching the match it was evident that it was just a matter of time before they found the goal. The winning play began with a nifty flick header from Beckham to a surging Keane, who drifted to the middle of the field roughly 25 yards out and patiently waited for the chance to strike. Then came the onrushing Donovan, who threaded his way back the Houston back line and latched onto pitch-perfect Keane pass before coolly slotting a right-footed shot just past Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall and into the back of the net. It was an MLS record 20th career postseason goal for the Galaxy captain, who was voted the game’s MVP, and his fourth all-time in the MLS Cup. He celebrated in a fashion familiar to fans even casually aware of his game-winner for the United States against Algeria in last summer’s World Cup: a sprint to the corner flag, a slide on the wet grass, a moment in history. The moment, which played out in front of 30,281 fans that braved uncharacteristically wet and cool conditions in Southern California, also punctuated one of the best seasons for any team in league history. The Galaxy won the Supporters’ Shield during the regular season and steadily drove their way through the postseason, capped by an impressively solid performance against a Dynamo team that struggled to keep pace all night. The win also gave head coach Bruce Arena the third MLS title of his storied career, and likely exorcised any demons from the last time the club was in the title game. That showing ended in a loss to Real Salt Lake in penalty kicks in 2009, a moment the club harped on all week as they carried the weight of heavy favorites into Sunday night.