The L.A. Galaxy defeated the Houston Dynamo 3-1 to win the 2012 MLS Cup on Saturday afternoon.
On the strength of goals from Omar Gonzalez, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane, the Galaxy were able to overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit with three unanswered goals in the second half and secure their second straight championship.
Here are four thoughts from L.A.’s win.
Former USMNT coach Bruce Arena added to his already-impressive coaching resume with the win, picking up his fourth MLS championship.
A member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, Arena already had five NCAA national championships and three MLS Coach of the Year Awards.
However, with the Galaxy winning on Saturday and Arena picking up his fourth MLS title, he now has twice the number of championships as any other MLS coach, including the talented Houston Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear.
While some might say that Arena has had an easy job of it with so much talent on L.A.’s roster, it is important to remember that the Galaxy were in total disarray when Arena took over, even with talented players like Landon Donovan and David Beckham on the roster.
In his four full seasons with the Galaxy, Arena has brought the Galaxy to the championship game three times, winning it twice. Prior to Arena, the Galaxy missed the playoffs three seasons in a row.
And for anyone who thinks that coaching talent is easy, go have a conversation with recently sacked New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe.
Two weeks ago, David Beckham announced that Saturday’s MLS Cup final would be his last match for the L.A. Galaxy.
Beckham was fantastic on Saturday, repeatedly playing his trademark 60-yard passes right to the feet of his teammates like a special-forces soldier guiding in smart bombs with laser-guided precision.
However, the other story that remains to be told is what will happen with Landon Donovan, who has been repeatedly hinting that he may retire.
If Donovan does leave the game, at the relatively young age of 30, he will have done so on his own terms with a championship in hand.
And while he certainly has more soccer in him, if Donovan retires, one can’t begrudge the decision of a man who has done so much for the growth of the sport in America.
While the USMNT’s depth at right-back is fairly deep with Steve Cherundolo, Michael Parkhurst and potentially Eric Lichaj and Timmy Chandler, Sean Franklin had an outstanding playoff run.
Franklin absolutely marauded down the right flank against every team the Galaxy faced in the playoffs, including the Houston Dynamo in the finals.
Many had thought that Franklin would be pinned back by the play of Dynamo left midfielder Brad Davis and Dynamo left-back Corey Ashe, but Franklin got so far forward on Saturday that on multiple occasions he was further up the pitch than either of L.A.'s strikers. And he did this while not neglecting his defensive responsibilities.
Franklin played in last winter’s January camp earning his first national team cap, and after an outstanding playoff run with the Galaxy this year, he deserves another chance to prove his worth to the national team this January.
Omar Gonzalez was simply terrific on Saturday—capping an outstanding playoff run by the young center-back.
At only 24 years of age, Gonzalez is just coming into his own and beginning to enter the prime years for a center-back.
With the USMNT’s defensive woes as apparent as ever, it is time for USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who was in attendance at Saturday’s MLS final, to give Gonzalez the chance he has earned.
Gonzalez, with the exception of an average second-leg match against Seattle, was simply top-notch during the playoffs and was largely responsible for the Galaxy's midseason turnaround as well.
On Saturday, Gonzalez dominated play and was named the game’s MVP.
While direct club-to-country comparisons are impossible, Gonzalez has done everything that Klinsmann could have possibly wanted to earn another chance with the national team.
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