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LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo, 2012 MLS Cup: Galaxy repeat as champs, win 3-1

Robbie Keane caps off Galaxy's 3-1 win with a stoppage time penalty kick to send LA to a second consecutive MLS Cup.

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Omar's dominant Cup-winning 5 minutes

For a five minute period during the MLS Cup final, Omar Gonzalez was completely impossible to defend. Sometimes, a player is just too dominant for good defending and intelligent tactics to slow them down.


Galaxy repeat as MLS Cup champions

David Beckham (and possibly Landon Donovan) gets to leave the LA Galaxy in style. For the second straight year, they're MLS Cup champions, following their 3-1 defeat of the Houston Dynamo.


Landon Donovan's penalty puts Galaxy ahead 2-1

After falling behind 1-0 at halftime, the Galaxy have come roaring back to grab the lead.


Gonzales equalizes for the Galaxy

Omar Gonzalez has pulled the LA Galaxy even with the Houston Dynamo in the 60th minute. After Calen Carr was forced out of the match injured, the Galaxy earned a series of free kicks and corners that finally led to a long cross in from Juninho on the right side to Gonzalez who simply towered over two Dynamo defenders, including Bobby Boswell, and powered a header past Tally Hall.

The Dynamo had men in place on the play but they simply couldn't get high enough to stop Gonzalez or get enough muscle on him to disrupt his jump.

Just a minute later, the Galaxy got another corner and put the ball in the net. Unfortunately, it was waved off for a foul in the box. Close call for the Dynamo.

The Galaxy got the goal they probably expected to get and have all the confidence and momentum now. The Dynamo will have to settle things down and survive the post-goal rush.


Calen Carr injures knee, Mac Kandji replaces him

Calen Carr, who scored the Dynamo's goal, was subbed off in the 60th minute after suffering an apparently knee injury.


The second half is underway

The Dynamo are happy but know the work is far from done as they lead 1-0 over the LA Galaxy at the start of the second half. It wasn't the best of halves, but it certainly was better than last year's drab final between these two teams. Of course, we knew that would be the case as the Dynamo have attacking options and the Galaxy defense isn't as good this year.

Houston had more corners and shots in the first half than they did in 90 minutes last year, so Dominic Kinnear will be happy about that.

The key for the Dynamo now is staying calm, keeping their defensive structure, limited Galaxy free kicks and scoring a second goal. The Galaxy won't be worried, they've come back before and they know they'll get some chances to score in the second half.

It should be a fun 45 minutes. Can Houston hold on for their third MLS Cup? Will the Galaxy come back? Extra time?


Carr has Dynamo up at the half

Update: LA Galaxy 3-1 Houston Dynamo, final score. Galaxy repeat as champions.

The LA Galaxy were the better side throughout most of the first half of the MLS Cup Final, but they failed to take advantage of their scoring chances.

Meanwhile, the Houston Dynamo had much less of the ball and nothing as clear-cut as Landon Donovan's best chance of the match, but Calen Carr fired Houston ahead just before the stroke of halftime. It was the worst time for the Dynamo to score from a Galaxy perspective, and Bruce Arena might have to adjust his tactics now that his side is down 1-0.

Houston was well on top for the first five minutes of the match, as LA struggled to find their footing. Ricardo Clark hit the target with the first shot of the game two minutes in, and Houston continued to push afterwards. Things changed when David Beckham found Christian Wilhelmson over the top of the Dynamo defense with a quick free kick. Even though Tally Hall was able to claim the ball, it was a wake-up call for Houston and sparked a good period of play for LA.

The best chance of the first half came by way of Beckham and Robbie Keane, who set up Donovan for what should have been the first goal of the game. Much like he did with Wilhelmson eight minutes prior, Beckham played Keane over the top with a great long pass in the 13th minute. Keane laid the ball across to Donovan, who had an empty net to shoot at, but finished wide of the near post.

From then until around the half-hour mark, things remained lively going both ways. Mike Magee nearly scored in the 19th minute on a Beckham free kick, but couldn't quite get around Adam Moffat to get his entire body into a headed attempt at goal. Juninho had a decent chance with a long-range shot in the 24th minute, and that was quickly followed up by a Dynamo chance that was both their best of the half to this point, as well as a sign of things to come.

In the 25th minute, Boniek Garcia played Kofi Sarkodie in on goal down the right flank. He made a perfect run, cut inside and won a race to the ball, but Josh Saunders was able to stay in front of the ball and make a solid save.

Houston's eventual goal came in a manner very similar to Sarkodie's chance, after a lengthy lull. Neither team did much for the 15 minutes following that chance, but Houston broke the deadlock with a goal similar to the Sarkodie chance. Moffat set it up with a great chipped ball over the top of the Galaxy defense, and Carr got in behind Tommy Meyer to latch onto the ball. Meyer provided little opposition to the Dynamo forward, who struck a composed finish into the roof of the net, over the hands of Saunders.

The goal was a massive game-changer for the Galaxy, who were comfortably in control and picking their spots to attack up until that point. Beckham has been arguably the best player on the pitch, with brilliant distribution from deep in midfield and on set pieces all night. LA will need to get a bit riskier in the second half, which could change his game and open things up for the Dynamo.


Calen Carr and his awesome helmet score

Missed chances by the Galaxy during the first half came back to bite them right before halftime as the Dynamo's Calen Carr got behind the Galaxy defense and beat Josh Saunders with a great shot over his shoulder.

Carr broke past Tommy Meyer, saying onside and running on to the long pass from Adam Moffat. Carr created himself some space with his speed as Meyer tried to race back. Carr was able to get close in against Josh Saunders who didn't come off his line and the Dynamo forward placed a fantastic shot over Saunder's shoulder and in to the back of the net.

It's a worst case scenario for the Galaxy who missed a handful of great chances to take the lead early and it's a dream for the Dynamo. They hadn't been that great in the first half, but they certainly looked better than last year at least. Will Bruin and Carr had been mostly invisible until the goal.

Lots of soccer left to play, but the Dynamo are right where they want to be.


David Beckham sure is fun to watch sometimes

David Beckham has already created three very good chances in the first 20 minutes.


Donovan misses first great chance of the game

The Galaxy missed the first great chance of the game. Robbie Keane snuck behind Bobby Boswell down the left side, joined on the right by Landon Donovan. Keane's pass across the box was perfect but Donovan completely mis-hit the shot, sending it wide of the goal.

It was the kind of miss you have nightmares about if the game ultimately doesn't end up going your way and not the kind of finish we're used to seeing from Donovan.

It's a shot across the bow of Boswell and Jermaine Taylor, along with the rest of the defense about the danger of Keane getting so much free space. They'll have to to a better job of keeping him under control because you simply cannot expect Donovan, or anyone else for that matter, to miss a chance like that again.

It did appear someone jumped the gun with the confetti that always gets released when the Galaxy score. I'm sure they have plenty more though ready.


Josh Saunders is a bit of a mess, ain't he?

For all his ability to come up with big saves, Josh Saunders is showcasing why he gives fans heart-attacks on a regular basis.


The MLS Cup Final is underway

The 2012 MLS Cup Final is underway at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. The stadium is packed, as you might expect and there's a large contingent of Dynamo fans in the corner supporting their team. The teams walked out past random folks holding flags of each MLS team with fire shooting out the end of the that was exciting.

There were also a bazillion photographers crowding the sidelines as the teams lined up before the match. A large majority of them were no doubt shocked to see 21 other players on the pitch along with David Beckham. Basically the entire ESPN pre-game show was dedicated to Beckham, which is not a surprise.

Can the Dynamo shock the world and ruin Beckham's going away party? Will the Galaxy lift the cup for the second straight year giving the media and MLS the story they really want?

We're about to find out as the match is underway!


Arena and Kinnear's lineups are ready

The culmination of the 2012 MLS season is here as the LA Galaxy prepare to host the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup Final.Weather could be a factor in this one with rain in the area.

Bruce Arena offers no surprises in his lineup. David Beckham of course starts in his final game with the Galaxy and Landon Donovan is in the starting eleven as well.

Pretty standard lineup for Dominic Kinnear who field his usual 4-4-2. Calen Carr returns from injury and will be an important part of the Dynamo attack working with Will Bruin up front.

LA Galaxy starting lineup (4-4-2): Josh Saunders; Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Tommy Meyer, Todd Dunivant; Christian Wilhelmsson, David Beckham, Juninho, Mike Magee; Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane.

Houston Dynamo starting lineup (4-4-2): Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe; Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Adam Moffat, Brad Davis; Calen Carr, Will Bruin.


Galaxy, Dynamo can bolster dynasty bonafides

Either Galaxy or Dynamo have a chance at winning their third MLS Cup in eight years.


The era of the 'Designated Player Curse' is over

For the first time in league history, two teams with at least one DP will meet in the MLS Cup final. Might DPs be a must for future champions?


Who ya got? Bloggers share MLS Cup biases

SB Nation's MLS bloggers have all sorts of reasons why they'll be rooting for the Houston Dynamo or the LA Galaxy on Saturday.

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