It’s MLS Cup 2011 all over again, with a few twists, and hopefully drier weather. This is the MLS Cup 2012 Live Blog.
Join Jo-Ryan Salazar of The View From Avalon on the live blog of MLS Cup 2012 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. between Bruce Arena’s Los Angeles Galaxy and Dominic Kinnear’s Houston Dynamo. The Galaxy are looking to equal DC United’s record of four MLS Cups, while the Dynamo are looking to catch up to the Galaxy in grabbing their third star.
The match will mark the end of the David Beckham era at Victoria Street, while Landon Donovan may also be playing his last game in an LA Galaxy uniform on Saturday. The Live Blog for MLS Cup 2012 on the View from Avalon will start at approximately 7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN, TSN/RDS and Telefutura.
T-390: Welcome to the Live Blog of MLS Cup 2012 here at the Home Depot Center on the View from Avalon. My name is Jo-Ryan Salazar. Glad to have you on board for this wonderful, festive occasion. The Los Angeles Galaxy are the defending MLS Cup Champions and will take on the Houston Dynamo in a replay of MLS Cup 2011, which saw Los Angeles prevail 1-0 at the HDC.
We have a long day of football ahead of us so settle down, enjoy yourselves as the View builds up to kickoff in the seventeenth edition of Major League Soccer’s showcase event.
T-380: Los Angeles come into today’s season finale with a regular season record of 16-12-6 (54 points). Meanwhile, Houston come into the match with a regular season record of 14-9-11 (53 points). Both the Galaxy and Dynamo began their postseason runs in the knockout round. Los Angeles defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 while Houston took out the Chicago Fire by the same score.
In the conference semifinals, the Galaxy faced the San Jose Earthquakes. Down a goal after the first leg, the Galaxy stormed back to win 3-2 on aggregate. As for the Dynamo, their conference semi came against Sporting Kansas City. A 2-0 first leg victory was more than enough for Houston to prevail on aggregate, 2-1.
In the conference finals, Houston took on D.C. United. Once again, a strong performance in the first leg (a 3-1 victory) set the stage for a workmanlike second leg. A 1-1 draw was enough for the Men in Orange to progress. Los Angeles also stormed to a strong first leg performance against the Seattle Sounders in the form of a 3-0 shutout. While they would lose the second leg 2-1 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, the 4-2 aggregate victory means we get a replay of last year’s MLS Cup Final in the same venue. Only the times, dates, and team makeups are different.
T-365: The match this afternoon will mark the end of an era here in Los Angeles. David Beckham’s last match as a member of the Galaxy will take place in MLS Cup 2012, while Landon Donovan will play today then most likely take some time off to rest and reflect. In addition, two other players in midfielder Juninho and defender Omar Gonzalez could also be departing the club following the match today.
“To be quite honest, we’re so focused on [the MLS Cup final]. Sunday, as coaches, you start beginning the process,” Galaxy assistant manager Dave Sarachan told MLSSoccer.com’s Scott French. “Rosters change every year, we know that. The cast of characters that may change is pretty significant, if in fact all those [players mentioned] leave us.
“The only thing I can say, there’s always going to be turnover every two to three years. If it’s top-heavy in major players, then we groom the next layer coming up and we supplement the group that’s leaving with players that are very good. We have an organization committed to do that.”
T-360: We are six hours away from MLS Cup 2012 taking place. Actually. we are technically six hours away from the ESPN broadcast of this game starting up. The actual kickoff time will be at about 1:55 p.m. PT/4:55 p.m. ET because of the pregame show, which you can watch on ESPN, TSN/RDS, or Telefutura.
Going back to the subject of David Beckham, here is a player that could be ready to take on an ownership capacity with a club, whether it’s the Los Angeles Galaxy or another club in the league.
“We’d love to see David remain in some capacity with the Galaxy,” Los Angeles manager Bruce Arena told MLSSoccer.com’s Jonah Freedman. “That’s obviously up to David and our ownership group. Hopefully that’s something that can be worked out down the road.”
However, Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear is downplaying the hype and treating the match as another game.
“No, we’re not talking about David Beckham’s last game,” said Kinnear to MLSSoccer.com’s Simon Borg. “We’re not dumb. We’re not blind and deaf to what’s going on around us. But our talk tomorrow is about 1:55 local time getting ready to play against these guys, not what they’re doing after the game.”
T-355: MLS Cup 2012 is just one of a number of games going on in sports here in the States. This Saturday, we have plenty of college football with the conference championships and national tournament games the lower divisions, the soon-to-be-fixed rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, and the usual business in the NBA. Note that there is no NHL due to the lockout.
It should also be noted that this could potentially be a big weekend for soccer in California. Both sides, that is. Baja California’s Club Tijuana is a win/draw away from securing their first-ever Liga MX title. They lead 2-1 over Toluca in the Apertura Liguilla final and need to hold off the Red Devils on the road tomorrow. Victories by the Galaxy and Los Xoloscuitles de Caliente will affirm California as the epicenter of the best professional club football in North America.
T-300: Five hours to kickoff, and there has been speculation that Frank Lampard and Kaka will be the replacements for Landon Donovan and David Beckham, according to the Daily Mail.
“We’re well aware of Kaká’s interest in MLS, and we in turn have made it very clear to him that he’s aware of our interest in him,” said Tim Leiweke, the president of AEG, to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. “We have a great relationship with Real Madrid, and just as we worked through a player with them six years ago [Beckham], I’m absolutely convinced we could find the right deal this time, too.
T-180: We are now three hours away from ESPN’s broadcast officially starting. Take a look at the list of all-time scorers in MLS Cup history. Up next will be a quick rundown on all the award winners.
- Landon Donovan (‘01, ‘03, ‘03, ‘11)
- Dwayne De Rosario (‘01, ’07)
- Alecko Eskandarian (‘04, ’04)
- Jaime Moreno (‘97, ’99)
- Tony Sanneh (‘96, ’97)
- Taylor Twellman (‘06, ’07)
- Chris Armas (’96)
- DaMarcus Beasley (’03)
- Jose Burciaga Jr (’04)
- Conor Casey (’10)
- Brian Ching (’06)
- Ronnie Ekelund (’03)
- David Ferreira (’10)
- Robbie Findley (’09)
- Diego Gutierrez (’98)
- Frankie Hejduk (’08)
- Luis Hernandez (’01)
- Eduardo Hurtado (’96)
- Mike Magee (’09)
- Chad Marshall (’08)
- Shawn Medved (’96)
- Miklos Molnar (’00)
- Alejandro Moreno (’08)
- Richard Mulrooney (’03)
- Joseph Ngwenya (’07)
- Ben Olsen (’99)
- Adrian Paz (’97)
- Jerzy Podbrozny (’98)
- Eddie Pope (’96)
- Guillermo Ramirez (’05)
- Carlos Ruiz (’02)
- Josh Wolff (’04)
- John Wolyniec (’08)
T-175: Here are your MLS Award Winners.
MLS Rookie of the Year
Winner: Austin Berry, Chicago Fire
XBOX Fair Play Award Individual & Team
Winners: Logan Pause, Chicago Fire & New England Revolution
MLS Defender of the Year
Winner: Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City
MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year
Winner: Chris Seitz, FC Dallas
MLS Referee of the Year
Winner: Silviu Petrescu
MLS Assistant Referee of the Year
Winner: Ian Anderson
MLS Cup Week (November 26-December 1, 2012)
MLS Best XI (read more)
G – Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City
D – Victor Bernardez, San Jose Earthquakes
D – Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City
D – Aurelien Collin, Sporting Kansas City
M – Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders FC
M – Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy
M – Chris Pontius, D.C. United
M – Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City
F – Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls
F – Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
F – Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes
MLS Coach of the Year
Winner: Frank Yallop, San Jose Earthquakes
MLS Comeback Player of the Year
Winner: Eddie Johnson, Seattle Sounders
Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year
Winner: Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City
MLS Newcomer of the Year
Winner: Federico Higuaín, Columbus Crew
AT&T Goal of the Year
Winner: Patrick Ianni, Seattle Sounders
MLS Save of the Year
Winner: Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake
Volkswagen MLS MVP
Winner: Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes
T-165: This match, MLS Cup 2012, could also be the last hurrah for the Houston Dynamo’s Brian Ching, who has had a long, illustrious career with the club. “Mentally you’re still capable, but physically you’re not capable,” Ching told MLSSoccer.com’s Simon Borg. “I don’t know if I’m capable of doing a full 90 at this level any more.”
T-155: With all the hype towards the Los Angeles Galaxy, Houston come into this afternoon’s contest with nothing to lose and a lot to gain. One play that can make it happen is the Dancing Bear, Will Bruin.
“If you look at all four goals in the playoffs have all been a little bit different,” Kinnear told Nicholas Rosario of MLSSoccer.com. “Makes good runs. He’s tireless. He’s just gone out there and led the line great whether it’s with a guy next to him or by himself. For me, there are several good young forwards in America right now and he’s definitely at the top of that list.”
Other players that will make an impact for Houston include defender Corey Ashe, goalkeeper Tally Hall and the team’s assists leader, Brad Davis.
“Any time you have the stars that they have on their team, they’re going to get a lot of exposure, a lot of attention,” Ashe told MLSSoccer.com’s Andrew Wiebe. “For us, I’ve said it for a while now, we’re a team that goes under the radar. No one really expects us to do anything, and then when we get in the playoffs, all of a sudden we’re the talk.”
T-75: We are 75 minutes away from the ESPN pre-match show starting at the Home Depot Center, and the crowd is filing in. Overcast skies, but no rain. The rain will come later into the night. So there should be decent weather for this contest, but with the rain doing a number of the pitch last night, there could be divets almost instantly. Still, with a great turnout, a sellout crowd, and a rocking atmosphere, you can’t go wrong.
T-74: Silviu Petrescu, of Waterloo, Ont., Canada, will be the MLS Cup referee for the first time. The 2012 MLS Referee of the Year, Petrescu is in his seventh year as an MLS referee. He has represented Canada at the FIFA level as a referee since 2002. The assistant referees are Daniel Belleau, of Sainte-Helene-De-Breakeyville, Quebec, Canada, and Darren Clark, of Kamloops, B.C., Canada; both are making their first MLS Cup appearance. The fourth official is Hilario Grajeda of Dayton, Ohio.
For his 19 league matches in 2012, Petrescu whistled an average of 26.6 fouls per game, sixth-highest in the league (the league average was 24.6). He also gave out 3.1 yellows per game (league average was 3.03), and awarded 1 red card and 1 penalty kick. Coincidentally, Petrescu was also the referee for the only league meeting between the clubs on May 26 in Houston.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
Manager: Bruce Arena
Colors: White tops with blue sash, white shorts, white socks
2012 MLS Western Conference Champions
12 Josh Saunders
5 Sean Franklin —- 4 Omar Gonzalez —- 21 Tommy Meyer —- 2 Todd Dunivant
9 Christian Wilhelmsson —- 23 David Beckham —- 19 Juninho —– 18 Mike Magee
7 Robbie Keane —- 10 Landon Donovan (C)
20 A.J. DeLaGarza
35 Bryan Gaul
11 Pat Noonan
26 Michael Stephens
8 Marcelo Sarvas
24 Brian Perk
14 Edson Buddle
Manager: Dominic Kinnear
Colors: Orange tops, white shorts, orange socks
2012 MLS Eastern Conference Champions
1 Tally Hall
26 Corey Ashe —- 4 Jermaine Taylor —- 32 Bobby Boswell —- 8 Kofi Sarkodie
16 Adam Moffat —- 13 Ricardo Clark —- 11 Brad Davis (C) —- 27 Boniek Garcia
12 Will Bruin —- 3 Calen Carr
15 Cam Weaver
25 Brian Ching
31 Andre Hainault
9 Macoumba Kandji
17 Luiz Camargo
24 Tyler Deric
23 Giles Barnes
T-0: The ESPN Prematch show has started.
We have a little David Beckham special with Julie Foudy, and a spot for the FIFA World Cup. Here comes the Phil Anschutz Trophy. Will this be the last day it is here in Carson?
Would you believe this: same player entrance setup as last year. On the red carpet. To the strains of Audiobrain’s MLS Anthem. Flags with pyrotechnics. A great touch.
FIRST HALF START: 1:57 P.M. PT/4:57 P.M. ET
1′ – We’re underway in this MLS Cup Final, the 2012 edition.
2′ – And now here is a chance for the Los Angeles Galaxy, but that goes to Tally Hall. Controlled possession for Houston will go a long way for the Dynamo. Here they come. Calen Carr with a cross. Now Ricardo Clark with a blast. Josh Saunders with the save. There’s the feistiness we’ve come to see from this Dynamo team this year. Offsides, LA.
3′ – Tally Hall plays it forward. Free kick for Brad Davis, making his start in the MLS Cup Final.
4′ – Here’s Boniek Garcia, and there is some chaos. This is some very aggressive football from Houston.
5′ – Los Angeles are now adjusting to the tempo Houston is setting here, and they get a break.
6′ – Christian Wilhelmsson with a chance. David Beckham nearly found Wilhelmsson streaking down but Tally Hall sniffed that one out.
7′ – And Sean Franklin is trying to find some space. A cross from Beckham is cleared.
8′ – Not one of the best attempts from Landon Donovan. I don’t personally know what he was thinking on that.
9′ – At the 23rd minute, the David Beckham chant will take place. Good sweep by Saunders. These are the types of games where you earn your dollars. And Saunders is fully aware of that.
10′ – It’s a game of virtual pinball in these first 10 minutes. No score early, but it’s action-packed.
11′ – Handball, Landon Donovan, and a little wind is taken out of the blue-sashed sails of Los Angeles.
12′ – Good stuff by the midfield of Houston against Robbie Keane. Bobby Boswell and company.
13′ – Wide attempt by Landon Donovan. But the first warning shot from LA has been fired.
14′ – Brad Davis is shaken up after a duel with Christian Wilhelmsson.
15′ – 15 minutes into the contest and Brad Davis is still being tended to. Should be some injury time here. Now they got him off the pitch.
16′ – Omar Gonzalez didn’t have the best of clearances there, but it worked.
17′ – It’s early, but I think Silviu Petrescu is calling a good game. Calen Carr skies that attempt on goal.
18′ – Good idea from Becks, once again.
19′ – Free kick now for Los Angeles. A swing of the set piece slot machine for Beckham. Can he bend it? Or will he go for the assist?
20′ – He tried to find Mike Magee, but he wasn’t positioned right. That’s two opportunities wasted for the Los Angeles Galaxy. And you have to think that the Dynamo have to make them pay for this.
21′ – Not sure what Wily is trying to get with that…and here’s another sequence for LA. That through-ball didn’t work.
22′ – That cross didn’t work out for Houston. I like the pace of this contest, but the finishing…not so much.
23′ – Jermaine Taylor with some sweeping.
24′ – A chance for Juninho. The David Beckham chant now.
25′ – The Galaxy right now are finding ways to give up possession rather quickly. This isn’t looking good for them.
26′ – And Kofi Sarkodie misses his marker and forces Josh Saunders to make another save.
27′ – Offsides, Houston. But this is looking really good for the Dynamo. They’re getting some chances.
28′ – Better pitch conditions leads to better football and we are seeing that here today at the HDC.
29′ – Bad pass again from Wilhelmsson. Houston now with the counter.
30′ – It is obvious that Landon Donovan really does need a break. Something. Half-hour mark: scoreless, and Juninho is shaken up.
31′ – That Achilles has been bothering Juninho; it’s the reason why he wasn’t available against the Seattle Sounders in the second leg of the Western Conference Final.
32′ – Tommy Meyer on the run, but he is stripped.
33′ – Back come the Dynamo. It’s Corey Ashe. Ricardo Clark is met by Omar Gonzalez.
34′ – Bit of a shadow here at the Home Depot Center. Clear skies. Somewhat.
35′ – Sean Franklin with a lack of control. Of the ball, that is. Great ball handling from Boniek Garcia.
36′ – Corner for Houston. And it will be another corner after Gonzalez clears the rebound. They can smell it now, the Dynamo…
37′ – And that’s gonna go to Josh Saunders. This is a struggle between two middle-of-the-road teams this year.
38′ – Sarkodie, and Ricardo Clark just couldn’t get to that one.
39′ – Landon Donovan is offsides again. This seems like a broken record here. And another offsides. I don’t think LA’s gonna get a break today.
40′ – And here comes the Dynamo with their next sequence. Another wasted offensive sequence by Los Angeles. That was dangerous for Carr.
41′ – Mike Magee now, and the cross from Todd Dunivant is deflected.
42′ – The impenetrable wall of Houston doing its job once again.
43′ – Will Bruin with the handball. Well, all signs right now are pointing to another scoreless first as with last year.
44′ – GOAL! Houston Dynamo 3 Calen Carr
That was poor, poor defending from the Galaxy, and Tommy Meyer just could not mark him. This is unacceptable defending from Los Angeles.
45′ – That has to go down as the biggest goal scored in Calen Carr’s career. One minute of stoppage time. The Home Depot Center is silent, except for the Texian Army.
Houston Dynamo 1
Calen Carr 44′
Los Angeles Galaxy 0
You simply cannot explain the price you pay for not finishing your chances. The Los Angeles Galaxy are only down a goal, but I have a feeling they will be down by more if they do not clean up their act and stop missing sitters. The Galaxy could have been leading this game 2-1. But the price your pay for not scoring the easy ones is huge and gives the opposition all the impetus they need to make you pay.
That is the situation facing the Los Angeles Galaxy. With their backs against the fall, what will happen next?
SECOND HALF START: 3:05 P.M. PT/6:05 P.M. ET
46′ – The second half begins. Well, I did say that I was going to watch this from a Houston Dynamo perspective, so I will go for the record and say that Houston have the advantage, but they need to consolidate. If the Dynamo can do this, they will get their third star.
47′ – Here comes the Dynamo with their next sequence. Christian Wilhelmsson is not having a good game. I just don’t see him being motivated to deliver today.
48′ – Yeah, Wily has been struggling to find his mojo. Free kick for Beckham.
49′ – Another offside, and Robbie Keane gets his second offside goal in as many MLS Cup Finals.
50′ – Too high for Carr, who is on pace to be the MVP of this contest.
51′ – Solid possession again for Houston.
52′ – And Silviu Petrescu calls a foul on Los Angeles. Free kick for Brad Devis. And yes, it’s safe for Oscar De La Hoya to come out.
53′ – Too much thinking from Robbie Keane.
54′ – Calen Carr is on fire. Not only does he only keep the ball inbounds, he also wins a foul. Very impressive.
55′ – Christian Wilhelmsson gets a talking to.
56′ – Another chance for Carr to get a brace. And it’s saved by Josh Saunders.
57′ – Here is Boniek Garcia and now Carr is shaken up.
58′ – Flags of orange and white are being waved by the Texian Army.
59′ – Handball, Houston. Free kick, Beckham.
60′ – That will be a corner after a poor header from Omar Gonzalez.
61′ – GOAL! Los Angeles Galaxy 4 Omar Gonzalez
Right after the hour mark, Gonzalez finally wakes the team up with a great finish. 1-1.
62′ – Free kick for Beckham, that goes astray.
63′ – Here is a corner for Becks. Another offsides goal on Robbie Keane. Talk about being snakebitten here by Petrescu.
64′ – Yellow card 32 Bobby Boswell
65′ – Free kick for Becks. Another swing of the slot machine. Penalty!
66′ – GOAL! Los Angeles Galaxy 10 Landon Donovan
That was a crappy handball by Houston’s Ricardo Clark. That might turn the tide here!
67′ – It’s now game on here at the HDC. We could be seeing a goal festival. Corner now for Brad Davis. Macoumba Kandji getting a talking to. Punched away by Saunders.
68′ – Mike Magee with a not-so-good touch.
69′ – There’s a through ball for you, won’t work. Calen Carr is disconsolate. Doesn’t look like LA is gonna let up now. Another offside.
70′ – 30,510 at the Cathedral of American Soccer. David Beckham challenging Kandji. That’s gonna be a corner. Take two.
71′ – And that doesn’t work. Goal kick. It’s too early for LA to let up at this point. London native Giles Barnes comes into the game for Adam Moffat.
72′ – We’re 72 in, it’s a tight match, it’s 2-1 LA.
73′ – Apparently Los Angeles will now have to battle 12 men: the Dynamo first XI and the ref.
74′ – David Beckham’s trying to do a little too much here. Now here comes Edson Buddle to do some hold-up play. Cover, as they say.
75′ – Offsides, Houston.
76′ – Well, it looks like Brian Ching will get one final crack at the Galaxy. Also coming in, Michael Stephens comes in for Juninho.
77′ – Now here comes Ching, in for Kofi Sarkodie. All hands on deck now. And another foul, this time on Edson Buddle.
78′ – Macoumba Kandji will want that one back. Not a good attempt at a tap-in.
79′ – Will Bruin has been knocked out of this contest early and often. Los Angeles, holding on to a precarious 2-1 lead. Tally Hall had to run over to that one, because he had Robbie Keane hot on his trail.
80′ – Another chance for Robbie Keane, and that is wide. Goodness gracious, what is going on with this token Irishman?
81′ – More work from Omar Gonzalez. And Josh Saunders has to bail out rookie Tommy Meyer who was responsible for not making Calen Carr late in the first half.
82′ – Orange smoke bombs, a tradition of the Texian Army. David Beckham with the handball. Once again, I’m going to say that Silviu Petrescu called a good match.
83′ – And another wasted shot from Keane that went into the arms of Hall.
84′ – Now here’s Will Bruin with a look. First time I’ve called his name in a while.
85′ – Almost there for David Beckham, but we can now all understand why this WILL BE his last game.
86′ – Well, we are into the final five minutes of regulation. Houston with possession, and no dice for Brian Ching. No surprises, really.
87′ – Another good look for Brian Ching. Best shot of the afternoon. Brian, to me, is someone who will remain part of the Houston Dynamo organization as part of the front office.
88′ – Giles Barnes with a chance. Corner, Houston.
89′ – Nice grab from Saunders on Ricardo Clark. Oooooh boy, that was going to be 2-2 right there.
90′ – Robbie Keane wins a foul. He’s done the work, in spite of not getting any goals for a second-straight MLS Cup Final.
90′ + 1′ – Beckham decides to take it short.
90′ + 2′ – Yellow card 10 Landon Donovan
Los Angeles Galaxy
And another card.
90′ + 3′ – Penalty! Tally Hall.
90′ + 4′ – GOAL! 7 Robbie Keane
Substitution Los Angeles Galaxy
IN 8 Marcelo Sarvas
OUT 23 David Beckham
90′ + 5′ – One more corner. And that’s it.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY 3
Omar Gonzalez 61′
Landon Donovan 66′
Robbie Keane 90′ + 4′
HOUSTON DYNAMO 1
Calen Carr 44′
It’s over. No. 4 for LA. Thank you for following this Live Blog.