After defeating the Houston Dynamo tonight 3-1, the LA Galaxy have won four MLS Cups pulling them level with DC United; their second Cup win in a row. For captain Landon Donovan, he pulls level with Jeff Agoos and Brian Mullan who each won five MLS Cups.
The LA Galaxy won nine of their last fourteen games on the run up to MLS Cup, getting hot at just the right time. This was the third time an MLS team played the final in their home stadium, and the second time the home team won. With MLS now awarding the MLS Cup final to the team with the best record, there will be many more of these games with absolutely electric atmosphere. It was also the Galaxy's eighth appearance in MLS Cup.
Statistically, MLS Cup 2012 in some ways was a bit sloppy. Houston's pass success rate was less than 50% as expected, but the Galaxy were even lower getting tackled nine times out of thirteen. Not only did Houston outpass the Galaxy, but they outshot LA as well.
Brad Davis created four chances, leading Houston, but it was Adam Moffat's pass that got Houston their goal. Landon Donovan created two chances for the Galaxy, but it was Juninho who chipped in the cross that Omar Gonzalez headed home. Both teams had role players step up and make huge contributions. Juninho did stay true to his form, letting one rip from well outside the box that he hooked a bit too much.
It's been a season where things didn't go according to script for the Galaxy, and they needed players like Juninho and Sean Franklin and Mike Magee to step up huge and fill in. That Omar Gonzalez finally got over his (apparent) fear of challenging for balls in the box and headed one home was just the perfect way for the team to get back in it.
At the post match press conference, Beckham mentioned that just before Gonzalez' goal Beckham had taken a free kick that Gonzalez could have gotten on but Gonzalez was timid and didn't get to the ball in time. Beckham went over and gave him some encouragement, told him to just go for it. Beckham got the ball to Franklin restarting after an unsuccessful corner that resulted from Gonzalez' first shot, but this time Gonzalez went up hard and finished.
It was Mike Magee who took the shot that resulted in the handball five minutes later. There was a melee in the box and Omar Gonzalez and Tommy Meyer both got heads on the ball that eventually fell to Magee. The MLS replay doesn't show the hand ball, which came just minutes after another controversial play where Robbie Keane finished an Omar Gonzalez header.
It was Robbie Keane's dribbling that got the Galaxy the third goal; dribbling around Tally Hall and forcing Hall to grab him. It was a match that encapsulated everything the Galaxy had to go through this year, everything that went right and the things that occasionally went wrong.
It was a lot of fun.