Congratulations are in order for the Los Angeles Galaxy who won the MLS Western Conference Championship title for the first time since 2002 after they defeated the San Jose Earthquakes by a score of 2-0 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA last night. I’m not sure how much help David Beckham was in the win but he looked good on the field so, that should count for something, right?
The Los Angeles Galaxy continued their improbable rise from the depths of MLS with Saturday’s 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes that clinched their first Western Conference regular season title since 2002. The Galaxy, playing in front of a sold-out crowd of 27,000 at The Home Depot Center, were the recipient of some good fortune in the win, their first against their bitter northern California rivals this season in three tries in the “California Clasico.” The victory gave the Galaxy (12-6-12) 48 points and first place in the West, no matter the outcome of Sunday’s regular-season finale between Chivas USA and the Houston Dynamo. The Galaxy own the head-to-head tiebreaker with both teams, should one of them tie the Galaxy for points. The Galaxy, which tied for the worst record in MLS only a year ago, certainly hope their first West regular season title in seven years is a good omen. The last they won the West, they also won the MLS Cup. They just missed out that season on a double when they were beaten by the Columbus Crew in the U.S. Open Cup final. The Galaxy got a badly needed insurance goal in the 77th minute when Chris Klein, who had just come on as a substitute for Mike Magee, sent a beautiful pass to Landon Donovan who had gotten behind defender Brandon McDonald. Donovan took the pass, then beat an onrushing Cannon through his legs for his 12th goal of the season. The Galaxy dominated for most of Saturday’s match, especially in a first half which featured several good chances before ironically taking the lead on what amounted to a fluke goal. It was just five minutes into the match when the Galaxy had its first chance on an 8-yard blast by defender Sean Franklin after a wild scramble just outside the goal crease and directly in front of the San Jose net. But his attempt never made it through a group of players and was blocked by McDonald, a former member of the Galaxy. Then it was David Beckham’s turn 12 minutes later. San Jose’s Bobby Convey was called for a foul and then received a caution for dissent to set up a free kick from about 28 yards. Beckham expertly curved the ball over and around the Earthquakes defensive wall, but the ball sailed wide of the net by no more than a yard. San Jose, which was on a four-game (1-0-3) unbeaten streak on the road, finally showed some life on offense barely two minutes later when a shot by Ramiro Corrales just missed the Galaxy net from about 20 yards. The Galaxy, however, clearly were holding the upper hand in quality chances. Dema Kovalenko, for example, known more for his defensive play, got into the offensive flow and barely chipped one over the crossbar in the 22nd minute. That led to the Galaxy’s unusual score two minutes later. Donovan simply was attempting a cross into the penalty area when San Jose’s Bobby Burling stuck out his foot. The ball was deflected just enough, sailed high over the outstretched hand of Earthquakes goalie Joe Cannon and landed in the far corner of the net for a stunning own goal and 1-0 Galaxy lead. The Earthquakes responded with their best chance of the opening 45 minutes. It was just two minutes later when Corrales attempted a free kick and sent the ball deep into the Galaxy penalty area. McDonald, streaking toward the net, got his head on it. Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, however, got his hand on it and made the save. The Galaxy had three more scoring opportunities in the half, first on Edson Buddle’s 22-yard attempt that Cannon saved easily; Chris Birchall’s attempt from a sharp angle that went wide of the net and, finally, another Beckham free kick. This one, in the 35th minute, was from 30 yards and went just high over the crossbar. By virtue of the victory, the Galaxy now know they will be the road team in the first leg of next week’s Western Conference Semifinal Series. But whether they travel to Houston — or remain right at home for the first-ever SuperClasico playoff series against fellow Home Depot Center residents Chivas USA — remains to be seen.
Hurray!! This is great news for the Galaxy … and the news just keeps getting better. As is his custom, Becks stripped off his jersey after the match and paraded around the grounds showin’ off his fine physique. After the jump, check out a few pics of hawt Becks stripped down to the waist …
Yay! Today we’re all winners. Here’s hoping the Galaxy can keep the winning streak going into the championship season. Who knows, they might be in it to win it all!!! Congrats guys!