MLS unveiled a silver ball for the MLS Cup final, to go with the silver Cup given to the winning Los Angeles Galaxy. The Home Depot Center expanded seating, so more Houston Dynamo fans could be accommodated and more Galaxy fans could enjoy a final in their home stadium. The ratings still weren't that great, an 0.8/1 share up against Monday Night Football. MLS soccer may still be a fringe league the next morning, but last night it felt like the center of the universe.
If you didn't watch the game, hopefully you've seen the SportsCenter highlights. David Beckham finds Robbie Keane onside who puts the ball underneath Tally Hall, only to have the goal waved off. AJ DeLaGarza chips it forward to David Beckham who heads it on to Robbie Keane, who loses his marker and gives a great pass to Landon Donovan who chips it over Tally Hall.
Coach Bruce Arena was high on his Designated Players after the match:
"David’s a champion. I’ve been around great athletes and competitors in my life in different sports, and this guy is as good as it comes. He has an unbelievable desire to win. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great person. I’m so happy for him. He’s done it all now – in every country he’s been in."
"Landon’s been hurt over the last two or three months. He started to get his legs back this week. This was important to Landon. I could see as we started to get in the middle of the week he was starting to get his old self back. He’s fitness and everything else. Landon’s a great player, and he knew this was an important game to set up his game tonight. I thought Landon played real well."
Both players called playing through injuries, especially at this point in the season, just part of the game. When David Beckham admitted he tore his hamstring on Tuesday, he confirmed what many suspected and showed just how seriously he has taken this competition.
"We’ve been through a lot this season. We’ve had a lot of games. Bruce and his staff are the ones that got us to this game tonight. Our families have put up with a lot this season with us being away. This makes it up them."
Midfielders and Defenders often have more impact on the match then the forwards, yet because they don't score as many goal they're often over looked. It was great to see Landon Donovan move up top, and it was great to see him score the winning goal. It was also great to see he's come to the point in his career where the team means everything.
"The actual goal doesn’t mean a whole lot to me. I, for the last month have been, like the rest of these guys have been so determined to win. I didn’t care who scored. I just wanted the ball go in. I mean that full heartedly. Winning feels so good. The goals come and go, but the moment is what I will remember."