Monday, November 21, 2011

Galaxy's Triumvirate Wins Los Angeles its Third MLS Cup

On Sunday evening in a rainy Carson, California it seemed that all the stars had aligned for MLS, for AEG, for Don Garber, and for the Designated Player concept as David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Landon Donovan teamed up to give the Los Angeles Galaxy the 2011 MLS Cup winning goal in the 72nd minute at the Home Depot Center.

Going into Sunday's Cup Final, featuring the Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo, all the focus was on the Galaxy, winner of the 2011 MLS Supporters Shield by picking up 67 points over the course of the 34 game regular season. After having lost the 2009 MLS Cup final to Real Salt Lake on penalty kicks, all the talk was about how it was the Galaxy's time to finally win the Cup again, having last won it in 2005. More pressure was added to the Galaxy by the fact that Beckham's contract is about to expire and winning the Cup would give a sheen of success to the Designated Player system and the so-called "Beckham Experiment."

The extended break between the Conference Finals and the MLS Cup Final seemed to give the advantage to the Galaxy, who also enjoyed home field advantage, by giving them time to get healthy and cooling the momentum of the Dynamo, who were riding a 9 match unbeaten streak into the Cup Final. However, the rainy weather and choppy pitch seemed to favor the Dynamo, a physical team that relies on set pieces and counters, over the Galaxy, a finesse team that relies on smooth passing and flow.

Each team dominated portions of the match, but it was clear that the Dynamo were suffering due to the absence of midfield Brad Davis. Without Davis' skill on deadballs and management of the midfield, Dynamo attacks tended to break down too easily and the team seemed to lose focus too easily. Meanwhile, the Galaxy, who only made one substitution during the course of the match, managed to keep their focus, keep their cool and finally found the one goal, the only goal needed to win the match and give the Galaxy franchise its third MLS Cup.


Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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