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Beckham exits as MLS champion

LOS ANGELES, California, December 2- David Beckham’s Major League Soccer career ended in triumph as the Los Angeles Galaxy scored three second-half goals in a 3-1 victory over Houston Dynamo for a second-straight MLS Cup crown.

Robbie Keane, Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan scored goals for the heavily-favoured Galaxy who clinched their fourth MLS Cup title on Saturday by beating the Dynamo for the second consecutive year.

“Our goal at the start of the season was to win a championship,” Beckham said. “Last year we were amazing and we did it,

“This year we didn’t start well but we came good and we did it at the important time.”

Beckham’s final game, which was played in intermittent rain, started out as a low-key farewell with no festivities before the game to honour the football icon.

But he walked off to massive cheers from the crowd of 30,510 at the Home Depot Center after the Galaxy, trailing 0-1 at the interval, came alive in the second half.

Republic of Ireland forward Keane appeared to have scored off a free kick from Beckham early in the second half but he was ruled offside.

Galaxy’s Gonzalez — who was named the Most Valuable Player of the match — made it 1-1 in the 60th minute with a header as he beat two Houston defenders in the air before floating the ball over goalkeeper Tally Hall.

Donovan gave the Galaxy their first lead five minutes later from the penalty spot.

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The Galaxy were awarded the penalty after a handball by Houston’s Ricardo Clark.

“I just like winning and I am real proud of this team,” said Donovan, who scored the only goal in last year’s 1-0 victory. “It is incredible. You cannot dream up stuff like this.”

Keane capped the scoring with a goal off a penalty kick in injury time, firing a low shot into the net. Keane celebrated by doing a cartwheel and a summersault before being mobbed by his teammates.

After Keane’s goal, Beckham was taken out of the game to a massive ovation. He walked over to the sidelines and hugged coach Bruce Arena.

Beckham, credited with helping raise football’s profile in the US sports landscape in his half-dozen seasons, hadn’t even received the biggest cheer when the Galaxy players were introduced.
© AFP “Our goal at the start of the season was to win a championship,” David Beckham said
© Getty Images/AFP Harry How

That went to Galaxy captain Donovan, although those cheers quickly turned to groans as Donovan missed an open goal in the 13th minute from six yards out after taking a perfect pass from Keane.

Beckham set up the play with a long pass up the left side to wide open Keane.

Moments later Houston’s Brad Davis went down at midfield after taking a knee to the head from Beckham.

Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders was forced to make a couple of huge saves in the first half. In the 27th minute he just got a hand on a Kofi Sarkodie shot from in close to deflect it over the bar.

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Houston’s Calen Carr opened the scoring just before halftime with a nice run down the right side before slipping the ball between Saunders and the near post.

Carr used his speed to get open then outmuscled Galaxy defender Tommy Meyer to get off a hard shot to the top of the net that beat a falling Saunders.

“The locker room was pretty quiet at half time but everyone knew we were going to get a goal in the second half and then when we did we won the game,” said Gonzalez.

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