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Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011

Beckham finally captures MLS title as Galaxy beat Dynamo


CARSON, California — Landon Donovan scored in the 72nd minute on passes from Robbie Keane and David Beckham, and the Los Angeles Galaxy's three superstars won their first MLS Cup together with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday night.

News photo
Beck and call: David Beckham celebrates with his L.A. Galaxy teammates after defeating the Houston Dynamo to win the MLS Cup in Carson, California, on Sunday. AP PHOTO

Beckham won his first MLS championship in the final game of his groundbreaking five-year contract with the Galaxy, who rolled through the postseason to the franchise's third league title after finishing with MLS' best regular-season record.

"I've wanted to be successful for the Galaxy for five years, and tonight, I have that," Beckham said.

Beckham punctuated a solid performance in the MLS Cup with an alert header to Keane, the Irish striker who joined Los Angeles in midseason. Keane made a run and eventually fed Donovan, who struck home his record 20th MLS playoff goal.

"To be honest, the actual goal doesn't mean a lot to me," said Donovan, selected the MLS Cup MVP. "For the last two months, we've just been so determined. I didn't care if it was an own-goal that won it. Winning feels so good."

Beckham lifted Donovan off his feet with a hug after the final whistle, and they joined their teammates for a raucous trophy celebration. Beckham's three sons joined him on the field, with Brooklyn carrying the Cup after they made their way over to the Galaxy's most ardent supporters in the north end of Home Depot Center, where the Galaxy didn't lose all season long.

The English star hasn't decided where he'll play next year, but the Galaxy hope Beckham extends his California sojourn for at least another season. The Galaxy fanatics in the Angel City Brigade supporters' section chanted "We want Beckham!" after the Galaxy's record seventh appearance in the league title game.

"It's been the most enjoyable time of my career in America over the last year, and this just tops it off," said Beckham, whose services are coveted by Paris Saint-Germain and a handful of British clubs. "I've said before, I need to sit back and relax and enjoy this moment, and then I'll figure out what I'm going to do next year. I might talk in the past tense sometimes, but that doesn't mean I'm not coming back."

Los Angeles had the most expensive and highest-profile roster in MLS history, but the Galaxy got full value from their three highest-priced players, particularly in the playoffs. Beckham's assist was his fourth of a stellar postseason, while Donovan scored in each of the Galaxy's final three playoff games, and Keane was a constant offensive threat despite flying across the world in his spare time on Irish national team duty.

Liverpool edges Chelsea


LONDON — Glen Johnson sent Chelsea to a second straight home loss in the English Premier League with a late winner at Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Liverpool took a 2-1 victory to reignite its chances of finishing in the top four.

Galloping onto Charlie Adam's raking pass in the 87th minute, the England right back cut inside international teammate Ashley Cole, burst into the area before curling home left-footed into the bottom corner.

Not only did Johnson's superb solo goal extend Liverpool's unbeaten run in the league to seven matches and lift the team above Arsenal into sixth place, it also dealt a major blow to Chelsea's hopes of reeling in unbeaten leader Manchester City.

City is 12 points clear of Chelsea after nearly a third of the season, which will pile the pressure on the London club's inexperienced manager Andre Villas-Boas, especially given the notorious impatience of Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

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