Keane victorious in MLS Cup, and what next for BecksPosted: November 23, 2011
Robbie Keane, fresh from captaining his country to the finals of the 2012 European Championships, also helped his club to glory in the same week. LA Galaxy won the 2011 MLS Cup with a 1-0 victory over Houston Dynamo. Landon Donovan, a name familiar to many in this part of the world after his stint with Everton in 2010, scored the only goal of the game on the night of Sunday, November 20th.
Irish interest in the MLS grew quite a large deal in the summer, when Robbie Keane unexpectedly signed for the Los Angeles club, who he always supported as a boy, to play alongside Mike Magee, Adam Christman and AJ DeLaGarza. And when the Galaxy reached the final of the MLS Cup, Keane was eager to round off a stellar week by lifting a trophy in his first season with the club.
The game was a scrappy affair, not helped by the awful state the pitch was in, but Galaxy did create a number of chances to score early on. David Beckham, a name that keen soccerball enthusiasts may recognise, pulled the strings from midfield for his side. Striker Adam Christman was given plenty of opportunities to break the deadlock in the first half, but it just seemed the occasion got the better of him as he fluffed his efforts.
However, our Robbie did manage to make the ball hit the back of the net in the second half – only for his boyhood dream of an MLS Cup Final goal to be wrongly chalked off for offside. David Beckham saw the striker with acres of space and put the ball in his path. Replays showed that Keane was in line with the last defender and the goal should have stood.
The game was decided by a goal that Keane created though. Assertive running at the heart of the Houston defence drew some space in behind the centre halves, which Donovan ran into before collecting a neat pass from the former Spurs forward. A deft finish from Donovan left the Galaxy with the one goal advantage that ended up as being all they needed. In truth, it was quite an impressive goal.
Since the victory, speculation has been rife that David Beckham is to be leaving America, with Paris Saint-Germain looking interested in his services. Staying at LA Galaxy is the second favourite option in the bookies, but a move to Tottenham Hotspurs comes in third with odds of 4/1. Returning to Serie A with AC Milan is priced at 20/1.
I think David Beckham would be best off staying where he is in California. The MLS is a league growing from strength to strength every year in competition and quality.
Beckham’s role in the LA Galaxy team is an integral one. Bruce Arena would need to find a great replacement for the Englishman, should he leave. Every attack starts from Beckham, and he’s the type of player that Robbie Keane will flourish alongside. Becks can start the attacks, give delightful pinpoint passes and crosses for Keane to finish off. That’s the LA plan, and it has worked since Keane came to the club, helping deliver this year’s MLS Cup.
As well as this, the MLS is a very fit league. Sure, the standard of skill and talent that the players have would be less than that in Europe. But there’s no doubting that American sports teams work impeccably hard and are always very fit. At 36, the closer that Beckham can keep to fitness levels of the league in general, the better it will bode for him and his chances of making Team GB for London 2012.
Beckham, who has always been a hard worker, will be able to keep at a high, competitive level of fitness while also remaining the focal point to Galaxy’s attack if he stays there – and this is a perfect way for him to play out his wonderful career.
Since winning the cup, the player has come out and said that he’ll be taking a little time to think about what’s best for him and his family, and then he’ll decide the next path in his career. The MLS Cup victory could end up being the Hollywood ending to what started off as a huge shock move to LA for Beckham. A team that nobody had heard of, playing in a league that nobody ever really thought of, Beckham has certainly raised the global awareness of the MLS.
That global awareness has since turned into something a lot more concrete, with many other stars such as Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez and Robbie Keane all moving to Major League Soccer since. Whatever lies ahead for Becks, the priority for the former England captain remains to earn himself a place in Great Britain’s team for London’s Olympics.