David Beckham and Robbie
Keane helped LA Galaxy beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 in the Western
Conference championship game on Sunday, setting up a
league-deciding MLS Cup clash against Houston Dynamo.
Houston beat Sporting Kansas City 2-0 earlier on Sunday to
win the Eastern Conference title in a fiercely-contested
encounter in Kansas City, but the Dynamo were deserved winners
after grabbing control of the game from the early stages.
Landon Donovan gave Galaxy the lead with a 23rd minute
penalty and after Alvaro Saborio equalized two minutes later,
Beckham's curling cross found the head of Mike Magee to put them
2-1 ahead in the 58th minute.
With Real pushing for the equaliser, Irishman Keane took
advantage of the gaps at the back and sealed the win in the 68th
Real, with defender Jamison Olave back in the starting
line-up after a picking up a quad injury in the Western
semi-finals, had their chances with Kyle Beckerman hitting the
post just before half-time.
Galaxy, who lost to Real in the 2009 MLS Cup, had the best
regular season record and cruised past the New York Red Bulls in
the Major League Soccer conference semi-finals.
Beckham could be playing his last season in Los Angeles with
his lucrative five-year contract set to expire at the end of
this campaign but he said he was focusing on the Cup, not his
"I'm a Galaxy player right now. I'm 36-years-old and I still
enjoy soccer," he told reporters. "Right now we're focused on
the cup. We don't want to get too carried away. We did that a
couple years ago and paid for it."
In Kansas City, Andre Hainault scrambled Houston in front in
the 53rd minute after Jermaine Taylor got on the end of an Adam
Moments later, Houston had a huge chance to double the
advantage but Luiz Camargo hesitated badly in front of goal and
the Sporting defense managed to clear.
Sporting, previously known as the Kansas City Wizards,
renamed themselves this season to coincide with their move to
their own new stadium, Livestrong Sporting Park.
The venue was packed with a record 20,800 crowd hoping to
see their team reach their first MLS final since 2004 but for
all the support, coach Peter Vermes's team struggled to impose
Houston, who did not win in their opening 15 games on the
road in the regular season, won the midfield battle despite
losing key playmaker Brad Davis to injury in the 39th minute.
Davis has been the single most influential figure in
Houston's run to the final and they will now be hoping he is fit
for the game in Los Angeles on November 20.
"It is too early to say," said Davis of his chances of
making that game. "I just couldn't be more proud of the spirit
we showed, it was thoroughly deserved."
Dynamo, MLS champions in 2006 and 2007, made sure of the
victory in the 87th minute when Honduran forward Carlo Costly
broke clear and blasted home confidently.
Sporting threw everything forward in the latter stages but
despite a few penalty area scrambles, they created little in the
way of real chances and paid the price for their lack of
inventiveness against Dominic Kinnear's well-organised side.
Galaxy will host Dynamo in the league decider on November 20.
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