Here at Verbal Football, I’ll give a run-down on LA Galaxy’s 2011 MLS Cup adventure. With the 2011 MLS Cup Final taking place at The Home Depot Centre, it’s only fitting that I focus a piece on the team from Los Angeles.
As top seeds in the Western Conference, LA received a bye in the first round of MLS Cup playoffs. Up first was the team from New York also known as the New York Red Bulls. Don’t ask me how a team from LA and NY are facing each other in a Western Conference play-off, direct your questions to the MLS HQ.
LA Galaxy v NY Red Bulls
LA Galaxy won the first leg with an imperious display in New York. Mike Magee’s well taken half-volley in the 15th minute ensured LA had the advantage going into the second leg.
New York Red Bulls began the second leg, with the highly rated Ream in defence. Former Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax midfielder Teemu Tainio and a certain Thierry Henry upfront. The home side, LA Galaxy opted to replace the suspended Juninho with former Port Vale player, Chris Birchall in central midfield alongside David Beckham. Opting for Birchall made complete sense as Bruce Arena opted to be gung-ho in the first leg and found themselves slightly open whenever New York launched a counter-attack.
David Beckham put in a herculean effort on behalf of the Galaxy at The Home Depot Centre. Robbie Keane was both wasteful and greedy but at least showed himself for the ball compared to the anonymous Barrett. I wonder why Bruce Arena doesn’t put Mike Magee upfront where I feel he’d be more of a potent weapon for the LA Galaxy offence.
LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake
LA Galaxy competed with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference final at Home Depot Centre for a place in the MLS Cup Final. To those who are unfamiliar with the MLS Play-Offs structure, this game was practically a semi-final, with the winner heading off to the MLS Cup final.
In this particular match, Mike Magee continued his impressive form with another goal. This time his winning effort was a header effort with the assist from you know who (David Beckham in case you were wondering). The Beckham – Magee tandem has been a valuable source of goals for LA Galaxy. Again, I was baffled as to why Magee isn’t allowed to have a free rein upfront. Either way, Beckham is still able to find him and that is exactly what happened in this match.
LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo
LA Galaxy reached the MLS Cup Final for the second time in as many years. The game was a chess match, with LA dominating the early proceedings. Adam Cristman was wasteful in front of goal and should’ve given LA a first half lead. Cristman will not be missed if he’s acquired in the upcoming MLS Supplemental Draft.
In the second half, Houston Dynamo came more out of their shells and forced the likes of Omar Gonzalez and De La Garza to defend on the back foot. However, in the 80th minute, David Beckham combined with Robbie Keane who in turn fed Landon Donovan with a sublime through ball which Donovan duly put in the net. Cue bedlam within the Home Depot Centre and utter joy when the referee signalled time at the end of the game. It was fitting that LA won the MLS Cup in their own backyard as well as in David Beckham’s last game for the Californian side.
The LA Galaxy Round-Up
LA Galaxy’s head coach Bruce Arena also received the 2011 MLS Coach of the Year … Unsurprisingly, David Beckham also received the 2011 MLS Comeback Player of the Year award. Beckham’s contribution to LA in the play-offs alone have demanded recognition for his work ethic and unsurpassed leadership qualities. LA Galaxy captain, Landon Donovan also won the MLS MVP for 2011. Roll on next season.