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MLS Cup final: Los Angeles 3 Houston 1

David Beckham ended his stay in America on a high as Los Angeles beat Houston Dynamo 3-1 to win the MLS Cup on Saturday.

Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan scored within minutes of each other to overcome Calen Carr’s 44th-minute goal, and the Galaxy added a stoppage-time penalty via Robbie Keane to capture their second consecutive MLS Cup title.

The win, in front of a sellout crowd of 30,510 at the Home Depot Center, sends Beckham out of Major League Soccer as a two-time champion.

Donovan netted the winner – his MLS record 22nd post-season goal and record fifth MLS Cup goal – from the penalty spot in the 65th minute after a scramble in the area resulted in a handball on Ricardo Clark.

That came moments after Gonzalez headed home the equaliser off a feed from Juninho.

Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall had punched away a Beckham corner kick, but the ball worked its way back to Sean Franklin and then to Juninho, who sent in a perfect ball from the right to Gonzalez, who headed home in the 61st minute.

The Dynamo had taken the lead through Carr just before half-time. Adam Moffat played the speedy forward down the right, where he beat Tommy Meyer for pace and was kept onside by Gonzalez.

Carr, who missed the Eastern Conference final series against DC United, took a touch toward goal and finished with a blast by Josh Saunders as Meyer tracked back to recover, giving Houston a huge momentum swing heading into the break.

The Galaxy had their fair share of chances to get on the board earlier in the game but couldn’t convert. Donovan missed the most golden of the chances in the 13th minute. Beckham picked out Keane down the left with a trademark long pass out of the back, and the Irishman set up Donovan perfectly from point-blank range.

The Galaxy captain’s first-time effort went wide of the mark, though, as confetti cannons at the ground shot off in anticipation of the finish.

The Galaxy then had another great chance in the 20th minute, with Beckham serving a pinpoint free-kick from the right to the far post, where Mike Magee’s close-range header went over the bar.

Keane then had a goal waved off in the 48th minute after a redirected Beckham free-kick was sent in Keane’s path, but the Irishman was in an offside position as he fired past Hall.

Keane got his in the waning seconds, though, earning a penalty on Hall off a breakaway and firing home from the penalty spot to ice the match.

With the victory, Donovan has a record-tying five MLS Cup triumphs, Bruce Arena has an MLS-record four as a coach and the Galaxy tied DC United with a league-best four MLS Cup titles.

Sun 2 December, 2012
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