Found November 21, 2011 on
Bruce Arena and Landon Donovan have experienced their share of joyous triumphs together during their lengthy tenure as coach and player. From the number of important victories with the U.S. national team, to their many triumphs in the past three seasons with the Los Angeles Galaxy.
All that history aside, there may not have been a sweeter victory for them to share than Sunday night's MLS Cup Final victory over the Houston Dynamo. It marked the third MLS championship for each of them, but the redemption both men gained in securing that title is what has to make it stand out from the rest.
Consider that at this time two years ago, Landon Donovan could be seen sulking in his locker after the 2009 MLS Cup Final loss to Real Salt Lake. Having just missed a penalty kick in the decisive shootout, Donovan was clearly deflated and left wondering how things could have gone so wrong for a Galaxy team that seemed destined to lift a trophy.
Four years ago at this time, Arena wasn't competing for a title. He was looking for a job after being fired in surprising fashion by the New York Red Bulls after just one and a half seasons. History will show Arena 'resigned' from the Red Bulls, but it has long since been revealed that he was forced out, given the option of taking a payoff and quitting rather than simply being fired.
Those moments served as rock bottom for two men who have enjoyed so much success in their careers, and provided the impetus for a journey that led them both to the Home Depot Center on Sunday night.
Donovan found himself with another chance to score a title-winning goal, and he did just that on Sunday, taking a beautiful Robbie Keane pass and slotting it home for the only goal the Galaxy needed, and the fourth MLS Cup goal of his career (a record).
Even before the goal, Donovan was a menace for the Dynamo defense to handle, looking like the dangerous attacking predator who once helped the 2003 San Jose Earthquakes and 2005 Los Angeles Galaxy teams win titles.
Arena's triumph was the culmination of three years of reconstructing the Galaxy from laughing stock to trophy-winning powerhouse. It is easy to forget that Arena inherited a Galaxy team with a weak roster and with Beckham looking like a wasted signing. All he did was proceed to build a team that has now reached two MLS Cup finals (winning one), won two Supporters Shields and reached the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Arena won't bother with throwing a public jab at his former employers in New York, but he has made clear in comments in recent months and years that he takes pride in having made the Red Bulls look foolish for firing him. It must be even sweeter to lift his first MLS Cup trophy since 1997 (a span that included eight years away from MLS spent coaching the national team) while the Red Bulls remain a misguided and overpriced mess.
Sunday's MLS Cup final victory isn't just about redemption, it is also about solidifying two of the strongest legacies in the league's 15-year history. The win secures Arena's place as the best head coach in league history, while Donovan's MVP performance secures his standing as the best player in MLS history.
The scary part is that Arena and Donovan's Galaxy aren't finished. While there may be some player departures to deal with, the Galaxy have already expressed a commitment to revamping the roster and will remain a strong team in 2012.
Redemption won't be the major motivator going forward for Arena and Donovan after Sunday's championship. Instead, the chance to make more history will be the new motivation. Once they have had a chance to enjoy Sunday's triumph, and some time off, Arena and Donovan can start preparing for a run at the CONCACAF Champions League title. Something no MLS team has ever won.
That sounds like just the right challenge for two men who just checked off another impressive accomplishment on their things-to-do list, and after seeing them both rebound from some difficult moments in their careers to share a championship on Sunday, it would be tough to bet against them.
BEST OF MAXIM
The L.A. Galaxy have captured the 2011 MLS Cup, defeating the Houston Dynamo 1-0. Landon Donovan scored the lone goal in the win. It was started by a header from England's David Beckham and a pass from Ireland's Robbie Keane. The trio has been considered the best in the MLS, and it made a strong argument when it combined for that deciding goal. Donovan's goal came in...
The second try turned out to be the charm for Bruce Arena and his Los Angeles Galaxy. Landon Donovan’s outside right-foot finish past Tally Hall in the 72nd minute put the Galaxy on top for good. Keane picked up the …
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Landon Donovan adds to his legend with the match winner in the MLS Cup final.
Landon Donovan’s second-half goal has handed the LA Galaxy a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo in the final of...
CARSON, CA (AP) -- Landon Donovan scored in the 72nd minute on passes from Robbie Keane and David Beckham, and the Los Angeles Galaxy's three superstars won their first MLS Cup together with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday night.
Beckham won his first MLS championship in the final game of his groundbreaking five-year contract with the Galaxy, who rolled through...
The celebration was on after Landon Donovan and David Beckham led the Galaxy to a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo.Photo Credit: Jonathan Lloyd
We can finally say the David Beckham experiment in the MLS has been a success. In the final season of his five-year deal Beckham finally delivered the MLS Cup to the Los Angeles Galaxy, as he and fellow superstars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane led their team to a 1-0 win over the visiting Houston Dynamo in the MLS championship game Sunday night.
Landon Donovan scored in the 72nd minute on passes from Robbie Keane and David Beckham, and the Los Angeles Galaxy's three superstars won their first MLS Cup together with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday night.
The city of LA can add one more team to it’s championship pedigree. The LA Galaxy- our soccer team that features David Beckham- won the MLS Cup. The Galaxy defeated the Houston Dynamo 1-0 on Sunday night. The lone goal was scored by Landon Donovan.
This win also marks the first US cup for my boo, David Beckham. Check out photos from the celebration.
Photos via LA Galaxy...
CARSON, California - Los Angeles' star trio David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan combined for the winning...
Landon Donovan scored in the 72nd minute on passes from Robbie Keane and David Beckham, and the Los Angeles Galaxy's three superstars won their first MLS Cup together with a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday night. Beckham won his first MLS championship in the final game of his groundbreaking five-year contract with the Galaxy, who rolled through the postseason to the...
A team made up of some of soccer's biggest names — David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane — finds redemption by winning the MLS Cup.Who says Los Angeles can't win a pro football championship?
It didn’t feel like one day, or even a whole season was riding on Sunday night’s MLS Cup matchup.
No, for the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sunday night’s final against the Houston Dynamo had more like a weight of five years. From the moment David Beckham arrived in Los Angeles in 2007, to all the ups and downs, to Bruce Arena coming in as head coach and general manager a year later...
David Beckham has reached the grand finale of his five-year Hollywood saga. The English superstar will play for his first Major League Soccer championship on Sunday with the Los Angeles Galaxy, hoping to lift the MLS Cup alongside Landon Donovan in vindication of his groundbreaking American experiment.