Beckham's Hollywood ending: England legend signs off by helping Galaxy to MLS Cup glory… but where next for Goldenballs
10:07 GMT, 2 December 2012
David Beckham had his heart set on leaving LA Galaxy with the MLS Cup as a parting gift and it was fitting he should be the architect of a second-half comeback to beat their old rivals here at the Home Depot Center.
The 37-year-old former England captain conjured up a vintage display in central midfield and the crowd rose to acclaim their No 23 when he was substituted seconds before the end.
Anybody questioning the impact
Beckham has made on a sport which still has a long way to go to catch up
established American games such as gridiron and baseball, would have to
acknowledge his popularity with the fans. There were banners all round
the ground proclaiming ‘Thanks David’ and ‘We love Beckham’ while fans
were wearing T-shirts with slogans such as ‘Beckham — take me with you’
and ‘Beckham you rocked the Galaxy’.
Party time: David Beckham and his team-mates begin the celebrations
‘It is a special day for us to win it
here at our home, in front of our home fans,’ said an emotional
Beckham, who again hinted that he would soon be involved in the MLS as a
‘It is a sad day as well. This is a special place for me and will continue to be a special place.
More trophies: Beckham's glittering career has yet another successful chapter
Champions: Landon Donovan reacts after scoring the crucial penalty
Decisive intervention: David Beckham and Christian Wilhelmsson celebrate with Landon Donovan after the latter slots home a penalty in the second half to put Galaxy 2-1 ahead
The kids are all right: Beckham celebrates with his sons after the final whistle
‘I have no idea where I will go next.
I do know that I am happy to have been part of this club for six years
and been successful for the last four years.
‘I will continue with my commitment
to this league. I might not be playing here any more but my commitment
to growing this sport and this league will continue.’
Bending it: Beckham fires in a trademark delivery
This tight little stadium is far from
the biggest in the MLS but temporary seating installed for the occasion
and the opening of the huge grassy bank towering over one of the goals
had boosted the capacity from 27,000 to 30,000.
The untypical Los Angeles weather —
drizzling rain on Friday and squally showers before the game — made the
grass slippery but it hardly put off the fans. They braved the
conditions, spreading their blankets and feasting on hot dogs and Buds
well before kick-off.
Tribute: Fans show their appreciation for the former England captain
Of course, the main item on the
agenda was Galaxy’s attempt to retain the Philip F Anschultz Trophy,
awarded to the winners of the MLS championship in a repeat of last
year’s final. Having reached their record eighth final, Galaxy have now
equalled DC United’s feat of four titles.
But it was almost a foregone
conclusion. If Beckham could have picked opposition least likely to
spoil his farewell party, it would have been the Dynamo who have now
lost their last six games at the Home Depot.
Ambassador: David Beckham (right) before the game with Robbie Keane (centre)
Hands on: Ricardo Clark gets to grips with Beckham in the first half
Beckham engineered the 13th-minute
move which should have seen Galaxy take the lead with a 30-yard ball to
Robbie Keane, whose pass left Landon Donovan with the goal at his mercy
but the striker shot wide.
A 19th-minute free-kick from the
right-side of the box produced an even worse miss with Mike Magee, two
yards out, somehow contriving to head off target. They were misses that
Galaxy came to rue when, a minute before half-time, Calen Carr broke
down the Houston right, took advantage of sloppy defending by Tommy
Meyer and lifted a right footer into the top of the net to stun the home
The last time: David Beckham walks out alongside sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz
Job done: Beckham and Galaxy coach Bruce Arena chat to the media after the game
Up for the cup: Beckham poses with the trophy alongside Arena, Robbie Keane (far right) and assistant coach Jovan Kirovski
Galaxy hit back with two goals in
four minutes. Omar Gonzalez headed them level in the 61st minute and a
Donovan penalty gave them the lead. It was left to Keane to put the
icing on the cake with a second penalty in added time.
Beckham has been cagey about where he
will go next. France, and particularly Monaco, remain a favourable
option but he has been impressed with overtures from China. For now,
though, he will just enjoy the Hollywood ending to his LA career.
American dream: Beckham departs LA Galaxy on a high