By Ollie Irish
Two assists by David Beckham moved the Galaxy one step closer to the 2010 MLS Cup. Beckham’s swinging corner was finished off by Edson Buddle – a goal that all but killed the tie – and then a penetrative Becks free-kick was headed home emphatically by Omar Gonzalez, in a move that came straight from the training ground. Tie over, and less than 30 minutes on the clock. The Sounders finally found a way to beat Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts when Steve Zakuani blasted a shot through the keeper’s hands late in the game, but it was a mere consolation goal.
The word is, this was David Beckham’s most complete performance for the Galaxy, which is a good sign when you think he’s only just returned to action after the Achilles injury that almost ended his career.
“Obviously, it’s kind of my pre-season,” Beckham said after the game. “I’m still trying to get fit. I’m still getting the aches and the pains of pre-season. If I look after my body (like I have before) since I’ve been back, hopefully, I’ll continue to progress.”
Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena added: “David was terrific. He is getting back in form. His reputation on set pieces is well-known, well-respected and well-earned, and tonight it was the difference in the game.”
Galaxy’s reward is a home tie against FC Dallas (who knocked out champions Real Salt Lake) in the Western Conference Championship on Sunday 14 November (Dallas has never reached an MLS Cup final). The winner of that tie will meet either Colorado Rapids (who knocked out Columbus Crew on pens) or San Jose Earthquakes (who shocked Thierry Henry’s New York Red Bulls with a stunning 3-1 win in NYC; San Jose were inspired by former Reading winger Bobbey Convey) in the MLS Cup final, held in Toronto on 21 November.
I call Beckham, Donovan and co. to go all the way this time, beating Colorado in the final.