|Los Angeles Galaxy team members, including Landon Donovan (2nd R), celebrate their victory over the Houston Dynamo during the MLS Cup soccer final in Carson, California, November 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
CARSON, CA - All three of the Los Angeles Galaxy's Designated Players connected to score the lone goal at The Home Depot Center on Saturday, as the Galaxy edged the Houston Dynamo, 1-0, to secure its third MLS Cup title in club history.
Landon Donovan provided the finish in the 72nd minute with David Beckham and Robbie Keane involved in the build-up, putting a cap on a magical Galaxy season which saw them collect MLS Supporters' Shield honors in addition to Saturday's MLS Cup triumph.
The definitive scoring move started with Beckham flicking a header onto Keane. The Irish international collected possession before threading a through ball into Donovan's stride. The American capped off the sequence with a brilliant flick over Houston goalkeeper Talley Hall, who helplessly watched the ball trickle over the goal line.
It was Donovan's fourth goal in an MLS Cup Final. He previously tallied strikes in the 2001 and 2003 editions with the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Dynamo defended well for much of the match, but the Galaxy held the edge in clear-cut scoring opportunities.
Adam Cristman nearly opened the scoring in the 12th minute when he met a Beckham corner kick, but his header sailed inches over the crossbar.
Keane came even closer to giving Los Angeles the lead, as he latched onto a through ball and scored with a shot between Hall's legs. But the assistant referee flagged Keane for receiving the ball in an offside position and the goal was disallowed.
The Galaxy victory marks the sixth time in MLS that the Supporters' Shield winners have been able to secure an MLS Cup title. Los Angeles has now achieved that twice after its 2002 MLS Cup title win over the New England Revolution.
Los Angeles also concludes the 2011 season with an unblemished home record. Including both the regular season and postseason, the Galaxy posted a 15-0-5 record at The Home Depot Center in MLS play.
Houston, which entered the match with a nine-game unbeaten streak, loses an MLS Cup Final for the first time in club history. Under head coach Dominic Kinnear, the Dynamo emerged victorious from the finale in 2006 and 2007.