MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

StubHub Center, Los Angeles, United States

Attendance: 30510

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Los Angeles

  • Omar Gonzalez 60'
  • Landon Donovan 65' PEN
  • Robbie Keane 90' +4' PEN

3 - 1

FT

Houston

  • Calen Carr 44'
Watch Live on: ESPN
  •  

    James Tyler: Bye for now! Boot Room! MLS Cup! Los Angeles Galaxy! Football! Soccer!

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Landon Donovan is the third player to win five MLS titles, joining Jeff Agoos and Brian Mullan.

  •  

    James Tyler: And beard trimming, by the sounds of things.

  •  

    [Comment from Paul]
    Finally Landycakes has time for some soul searching.

  •  

    James Tyler: Find me on Twitter: @JamesTylerESPN
    And Jeff Carlisle, too: @JeffreyCarlisle

  •  

    James Tyler: Saturday morning Prem tilts, midweek Champions League, the whole gamut. USA in the World Cup hexagonal. You name it, the Boot Room will be open.

  •  

    James Tyler: Thanks so much for joining us for the 2012 MLS Cup. Join us for FC Boot Rooms all season long.

  •  

    James Tyler: Must dash, folks -- need to write some things, polish up the post-game!

  •  

    James Tyler: Firmed up, got aggressive, attacked Houston through the air and got their reward.

  •  

    James Tyler: Quite an achievement by the Galaxy. They earned it in the second half after a sleepy opening 45 minutes.

  •  

    [Comment from Jamaal]
    Back to Back!!!!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Was a shame, but a decent final overall.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    I'm assuming Beckham didn't take the penalty for fear of missing it and ruining his shining moment?

  •  

    [Comment from Mike (HOU)]
    James, don't feel awful. Our side was pretty thorouhgly outplayed in the 2nd half. Boniek and Davis were really non-factors the last 45.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Los Angeles joins D.C. United as the only franchises with four MLS titles.

  •  

    James Tyler: My MOTM: Omar Gonzalez.

  •  

    James Tyler: Back to back champs.

  •  

    James Tyler: FT: Los Angeles 3, Houston 1.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Or maybe because he's English he was afraid of missing it?

  •  

    James Tyler: Yeah, bit odd really. Perhaps overkill to have Becks taking the kick?

  •  

    [Comment from John]
    Why not let Beckham take the PK as a going away present?

  •  

    [Comment from Daniel]
    I tip my hat to the Galaxy. Congratulations for going Back to Back for the first time in a long time. You deserved it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chant of "Thank you Beckham"

  •  

    James Tyler: All part of the pageantry.

  •  

    James Tyler: Must give him his own standing ovation, I suppose.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB, LOS ANGELES: Beckham off for a rather lame curtain call, Marcelo Sarvas on.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Two penalties converted by the Galaxy today. Only one was scored in the first 16 MLS Cups.

  •  

    [Comment from John-David]
    Beautiful ball by Magee. He doesn't get enough praise.

  •  

    [Comment from Zach]
    Tally Hall grabbed him, that is definitely a fair call

  •  

    James Tyler: No need for the goal but L.A.'s veterans getting the job done.

  •  

    James Tyler: I feel awful for Houston. Truly.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Robbie Keane slots it, gets his somersault.

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL, LOS ANGELES.

  •  

    James Tyler: Keane's going to get the PK instead of Donovan.

  •  

    [Comment from Daniel]
    Good game to Houston but man, that 2nd half is gonna haunts us for a long long time.

  •  

    James Tyler: Keane skips behind the defense as Houston thinks L.A. is going to kill the clock. Tally Hall gets a piece, upends him. Is booked for it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Fair call, but 92nd minute, really?

  •  

    James Tyler: Harsh harsh harsh awful, painful.

  •  

    James Tyler: PENALTY, LOS ANGELES

  •  

    James Tyler: Ching fouled, quick free kick, Houston pressing but ball's back with L.A. This should be it.

  •  

    James Tyler: YELLOW CARD, LA: Donovan timewastes on the throw-in, booked for it. Could care less.

  •  

    James Tyler: Harsh result for Dynamo, but likely a fair one for L.A. given their attacking brio in the second half.

  •  

    James Tyler: Three minutes added time.

  •  

    James Tyler: Free kick's not struck at goal by Beckham but played wide. L.A. trying to eat up the remaining three minutes..

  •  

    James Tyler: Disagree completely. Sporting Livestrong Park is a virtual sell-out.

  •  

    [Comment from Soccer Hooligan]
    The sad thing about going to games is, if you're not on the West Coast or in New York... the games are relatively boring and the stadiums empty. It's true the average attendance has increased from when Beckham first joined, but that's mostly because there are more teams, and only the attendance for teams like L.A. is high. The MLS needs to do something to put people in the seats in markets like Dallas and KC.

  •  

    James Tyler: Robbie Keane trying to chew up the remaining seconds... a bombastic run and he's tripped, earning a free kick. Veteran move, keeps the clock ticking, ball's at Beckham's feet and he's in no rush to restart things.

  •  

    James Tyler: Into the final minute of regular time...

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for Houston! Rico Clark's close range header is right at Saunders. The L.A. keeper, who started out nervily today, stops it with ease.

  •  

    James Tyler: L.A. with ten behind the ball. Decent cross from the right by Barnes wins the Dynamo a corner. 89th minute...

  •  

    [Comment from Kevin]
    Went to a sounders game, the atmosphere was amazing. but definitely agree nothing like seeing it live!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for Houston! Brian Ching with a daisy-cutting show from 20-25 yards with Meyer backing off... in the end it's narrowly wide. Almost cruelly close.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    If nothing else, American soccer fans who don't pay attention to MLS should attend a game or two. You can be the biggest fanatic in the world of the televised game, and it's still not the same as seeing it live. MLS is occasionally sloppy, but it's athletic, fast, and fun. Ok, I'm done.

  •  

    James Tyler: 86th minute. L.A. really sitting back and inviting pressure, which is never a smart thing to do. Houston yet to profit from it.

  •  

    James Tyler: Fair point.

  •  

    [Comment from John-David]
    True about Gonzalez... but if Donovan had converted it would've been a different story... Beckham has had a couple of amazing through balls.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for L.A.! Beckham at the far post, superb cross for the exiting star but Hall puts him off and the ball skids out for a goal kick.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for Houston! Snapshot from the top of the box by Bruin but it's an easy save for Saunders. Fine work by Kandji to hold it up for his teammate.

  •  

    James Tyler: They are! Attendances are up, etc. Considering it doesn't have a Roman Abramovich, I'd say MLS is doing just fine. I think many would agree.

  •  

    [Comment from Daniel]
    @James: MLS is a young league and has room to grow, people need to give it a chance to grow afterall EPL was not the league it was today nearly 25 years ago.

  •  

    James Tyler: More importantly, why do you decide that?

  •  

    [Comment from Gary]
    Ummmmm what "respect" does it "deserve" exactly?

  •  

    James Tyler: 83rd minute... L.A. still up 2-1.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for L.A.! Robbie Keane with a jinking run through the Houston half, juking wide right and forcing a sharp midriff save from Tally Hall.

  •  

    James Tyler: Not sure it ever truly will, but I'm also not sure that it matters. If MLS keeps doing its thing and has complete confidence in its product, the respect is irrelevant. Fans in the seats does the talking.

  •  

    James Tyler: Really not that brilliant, honestly. No defining moment from him. This has been Omar Gonzalez's final.

  •  

    [Comment from travis]
    @james tyler how much longer until the mls gets close to the amount of respect it deserves

  •  

    [Comment from Mack]
    How has Beckham looked?

  •  

    James Tyler: Think it's snobbish for people to put MLS down all the time because it's not the Prem or the Bundesliga.

  •  

    James Tyler: Dan, it was semi-serious. Bad defending can (and does) happen anywhere. United's set piece marking was dire today... against Reading!

  •  

    [Comment from Dan]
    @James Tyler... you can actually tell the difference in quality of defending between MLS and United right? That wasn't a serious comment was it?

  •  

    James Tyler: Cheers, Sean!

  •  

    [Comment from Sean]
    these bootroom chats are infinitely better than a regular gamecast, well done JT and Jeff

  •  

    James Tyler: 79th minute.

  •  

    James Tyler: Been a fun game, all told. Still life in it yet, too.

  •  

    James Tyler: No-one's dominated, that much is true. Donovan missed sitter early, Carr scored for Houston on verge of HT, all LA in second half, Omar Gonzalez headed equalizer, then a goal disallowed for LA, then a PK awarded for a 50/50 handball call. Donovan converted.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Donovan now has 146 MLS total goals in reg season (124) & playoffs (22), breaking Jaime Moreno's record of 145.

  •  

    [Comment from Mack]
    Just got off from work... I see that LAG is winning but can someone give me a summary? Has one team dominated?

  •  

    [Comment from M]
    I think the Dynamo tired themselves out early by pressing from the outset as well as a lot of the players being a bit too amped for the occasion.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB, HOUSTON: Kofi Sarkodie off, Brian Ching on. Houston's all-time leading scorer, I believe. Can he turn it on when the Dynamo needs it most?

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB, LOS ANGELES: Juninho off, Stephens on.

  •  

    James Tyler: Brian Ching readying to come on...

  •  

    James Tyler: No, because it was a rubbish way to settle things. Instead of inspiring more attacks, it inhibited them.

  •  

    [Comment from Soccer Hooligan]
    Does anyone use Golden Goal format anymore? I think that's gone by the wayside hasn't it?

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB, LOS ANGELES: Wilhelmsson off, Edson Buddle on. Landon Donovan to RM, it seems.

  •  

    James Tyler: 16 minutes left...

  •  

    James Tyler: Been disappointed with Boniek Garcia for long stretches of this one. He's shown flashes of the form that really energized Houston in the second half of the season but none of the magic today. So far.

  •  

    James Tyler: Giles Barnes formerly of Derby County, way back when. Offers a bit more dynamism in midfield.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Yep. 1st team to do that. RT @onfooty: 3 pens for #lagalaxy this post season. Record?

  •  

    James Tyler: Well, it's MLS Cup so there has to be a winner. Two bouts of extra time, 15 mins a piece. Then, if still level, a penalty shoot-out. Each team with five PKs. Team to score most wins.

  •  

    [Comment from Tom Thompson]
    What are the rules in MLS if it is level at full time? This is the first MLS game I've ever seen.

  •  

    James Tyler: Some decent runs down the left. Good cross for Calen Carr that forced a fine save by Saunders. But not a great or memorable performance, no.

  •  

    [Comment from Mike (HOU)]
    Will Bruin has not had his best day today.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR HOUSTON: Adam Moffat off, Giles Barnes on. Subdued stuff from Moffat today bar the assist on Carr's goal.

  •  

    James Tyler: The talk of conspiracy is annoying. L.A. has bossed the second half, much to my chagrin. Reasonable goal disallowed prior to the penalty, too.

  •  

    James Tyler: Half-chance for Houston: Will Bruin wide open at the near post but slaps his header comfortably wide.

  •  

    James Tyler: Set piece flicked on at the near post and flicked out for another corner.

  •  

    James Tyler: Another corner for Houston. 21 minutes left. Mac Kandji's causing trouble with his muscular play.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Left knee injury for Calen Carr.

  •  

    James Tyler: Calen Carr looks crestfallen on the sideline. How he wishes he was still in the mix.

  •  

    [Comment from Mike (HOU)]
    Dynamo fan here Kyle, that was clearly a handball on Rico.

  •  

    [Comment from E]
    Has Kyle missed the part where 2 Galaxy goals were disallowed, one of which clearly should have been a non-call?

  •  

    James Tyler: Good point. He's been quiet. L.A. could have done with more of his assertiveness in the attacking third.

  •  

    [Comment from LR]
    Besides the PK where's Donovan been? Unable to watch the match.

  •  

    James Tyler: Huh? You watch too much TV. Reasonable call. You see such calls in any soccer league anywhere in the world. Sorry if this one didn't suit you.

  •  

    [Comment from Kyle]
    What a joke. The reason I don't watch the NBA is because it's all fixed. The MLS has just sealed it's fate. It's going to fix games as well to make sure it's stars are front and center.

  •  

    James Tyler: Saunders punches clear at the near post, follow-up shot is well wide.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Landon Donovan is the second to score an MLS Cup penalty, joining KC's Josh Wolff in 2004.

  •  

    James Tyler: Now a Dynamo corner. Is there a response?

  •  

    James Tyler: Can someone help Daniel?

  •  

    [Comment from Daniel]
    Momentum is a cruel cruel mistress, James. I need a hug.

  •  

    James Tyler: Was a lovely penalty take, but my oh my. Houston buckling under wave after wave of high balls, crosses, headers, etc. Omar Gonzalez, take a bow. Single-handedly turned this game with a string of dominant headers.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Gut punch indeed. What a turnaround. Looked like Clark with the handball during a wild melee in goal.

  •  

    [Comment from Lee GFOP]
    Well now everyone forgets the bad miss

  •  

    [Comment from john]
    what a great game i love soccer

  •  

    James Tyler: Just a massive punch in the Dynamo gut.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: LANDON DONOVAN from the penalty spot. Well, then.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Landon Donovan scores his 5th career MLS Cup goal. No one else has more than two.

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL, LOS ANGELES.

  •  

    James Tyler: Momentum is a beast. Another maelstrom in the area under a set piece, handball in the box following another superb Gonzalez header.

  •  

    James Tyler: Oh gosh... PENALTY TO LOS ANGELES.

  •  

    James Tyler: Another corner for L.A., ball's in the net again but Gonzalez is whistled for keeping his marker grounded so he could get to the header. Harsh call? 50/50 call.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Oooh. Foul on Gonzalez denies Keane goal.

  •  

    James Tyler: I think there are a few more reasons beyond just this Boot Room, friend-o.

  •  

    [Comment from rocks and sticks]
    this is why Arena is the coach and ur not JT

  •  

    James Tyler: Stones, glass houses, etc.

  •  

    James Tyler: Really Andrew? Because Man United's corner defending was so superb this morning.

  •  

    [Comment from Andrew]
    LMAO what hilarious defending, this is the best MLS has to offer? Ill go watch my European reruns

  •  

    James Tyler: Dynamo's defense stretched and tested by a string of crosses/set pieces in quick succession, eventually something had to give.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: This place is off the hook now.

  •  

    James Tyler: #Hindsight

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    Good thing Arena didn't make any hasty substitutions

  •  

    [Comment from Christian]
    Great header, superb buildup

  •  

    James Tyler: Superb header, can't stress enough.

  •  

    James Tyler: So many crosses floated in and eventually Houston had to snap. Another lofted ball, Gonzalez in the mix and gets an open header at the back post, looping it past Hall into the bottom corner.

  •  

    James Tyler: OMAR GONZALEZ

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL, LOS ANGELES

  •  

    James Tyler: Angled in viciously and Tally Hall's forced to punch clear off his line.

  •  

    James Tyler: Free kick to the far post, Omar Gonzalez meets but his header is deflected wide. Corner for L.A., Beckham to take.

  •  

    James Tyler: More aggressive forward. Should do much of what Carr was doing so well into the channels.

  •  

    James Tyler: SUB FOR HOUSTON: Calen Carr off, Mac Kandji on.

  •  

    James Tyler: Sean Franklin wins a free kick for the Galaxy wide right as his cross is handled by Brad Davis.

  •  

    James Tyler: Calen Carr's going to be replaced, it seems.

  •  

    James Tyler: Subs are a tricky business, because getting them right is often an issue of hindsight. As in, you don't know if it was the right swap until something good/bad happens. West Ham's subs were superb today. But it's a hit-miss thing.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: No one warming up either.

  •  

    James Tyler: Me neither. I think he trusts the XI on the field to get it done but is also sensitive to the fact that there's half an hour left.

  •  

    [Comment from Brian]
    I don't understand why Arena is waiting to make substitutions.

  •  

    James Tyler: Calen Carr's down after a heavy collision with Omar Gonzalez. Houston bench is in action while Carr gets a look-see.

  •  

    James Tyler: Aye, Tommy Meyer's youth status is showing him up. Gonzalez might benefit from DeLaGarza if he's properly healthy, etc.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    Pretty terrible defending from the Galaxy CBs on that cross. Carr could not have been more open.

  •  

    James Tyler: He's on the radar, but a laundry list of deserving stoppers ahead of him: Howard/Rimando are the usual lads in the squad. Brad Guzan having a fine season in the EPL.

  •  

    [Comment from Mike (HOU)]
    James, I feel like Hall is a really underrated GK. Where is he on the USMNT depth chart? Is he on Klinsman's radar?

  •  

    James Tyler: Dynamo with the 1-0 lead and now that L.A. is pressing for an equalizer, there are gaps to be exploited.

  •  

    James Tyler: Superb save by Josh Saunders to deny the Dynamo a second! Carr with an open header on a left flank cross from Will Bruin. Saunders at full stretch to get behind it and keep it out.

  •  

    James Tyler: 55 minutes gone...

  •  

    James Tyler: Christian Wilhelmsson having a dour game so far. I'm surprised he's still in the game.

  •  

    James Tyler: Real won 2-0, I believe.

  •  

    [Comment from Jake]
    any update on Madrid derby?

  •  

    [Comment from Mike (HOU)]
    Wow! That long ball by Beckham was really nice.

  •  

    James Tyler: Could be right. Though he had no support in the middle for ages, had to do something with it.

  •  

    [Comment from Bob]
    Keane held it for to long

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for L.A. Keane free down the left, tries to get a cross in but Tally Hall blocks it out. Lovely work by Keane.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Raking ball by Beckham to Keane, he dances past Sarkodie and Boswell only for Hall to save tight-angled shot.

  •  

    James Tyler: Technical issue for me. Keane turned one in but from an offside position. Good shout.

  •  

    James Tyler: Sorry about that!

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Yep.

  •  

    [Comment from rocks and sticks]
    what's AR ? assistant referee??

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Wow. Good chance for Houston as Garcia plays Sarkodie down the wing, cross just headed clear by Gonzalez.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Good call by the AR there. Keane looked to be fractionally offside.

  •  

    [Comment from Brian]
    We should all start calling Wilhemson "Gervinho"

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    The team leading at half has won 7 of 11 MLS Cups.

  •  

    [Comment from rocks and sticks]
    LA comeback!!!! i'm calling it now!!!! beckham hat trick!!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: No subs for either team as far as I can tell. L.A. with it all to do in the next 45 minutes.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: Anyway, back for second half. And underway!

  •  

    James Tyler: Look, there's little one can do about a stadium. The politics means you do what you can to get one complete.

  •  

    [Comment from toonarmytx]
    What are your thoughts on the mls teams in soccer friendly areas but far removed from theactual population center? Mypersonalexperience is with fc dallas who play a million miles away from the dallas/fort worth metroplex with 6 million people but they'll never leave Frisco cause of their cushy stadium deal even though they'd attract thousands more per match if they moved reasonably closer in

  •  

    James Tyler: Not sure Rafa can do much about the bad juju at Stamford Bridge. Squad's out of whack, no balance in midfield. Going to take a while to put it right. But will it be Benitez who gets to do it?

  •  

    [Comment from M]
    Not sure what to make of today. Dynamo and Blues fan here, the Dynamo leading at the half and Chelsea are becoming the Hindenburg slightly after launch. What is Rafa doing?!?

  •  

    James Tyler: Thinking L.A. is getting its subs organized...

  •  

    James Tyler: What is Dominic Kinnear doing at half-time? Bruce Arena?

  •  

    [Comment from Lee GFOP]
    THE STACHE IS GONE!

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    LALAS'S MOUSTACHE IS ON THE DESK.

  •  

    James Tyler: Don't think the interest is there. The Marlins can't fill a stadium. NY seems for all intents and purposes to be the spot.

  •  

    [Comment from Kyle]
    Where do you think the next expansion team will be located? I find it surprising that Florida doesn't have a team yet... say Miami...

  •  

    James Tyler: Someone will still pay handsomely for Falcao, Henrique. But I digress. This is MLS Cup's time to shine!

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Heat maps of 1st half touches, both attacking left to right. LA on the top; Houston on bottom, pic.twitter.com/NvSiu4JA

  •  

    [Comment from Henrique]
    Ozil is back for Madrid. Finally showing shadows of his former self from last year. Easy derby win, and surely Falcao did not look like a player worth 60million.

  •  

    James Tyler: Not convinced, obviously, as Kaka's angling for the 2014 World Cup and I don't think an MLS move helps him barge into the Brazil squad. But L.A. will almost certainly find a new DP to fill Beckham's void, especially with the salary money freed up.

  •  

    [Comment from Daniel]
    James, what do you make of yet another rumor of a Euro player to the Galaxy, this time Kaka to L.A.?

  •  

    James Tyler: VERY QUICKLY: Beckham's last game in MLS, rematch of last year's final, Houston underdogs but holding a lead thanks to three players who missed the Cup in 2011: Bruin, Davis and Boniek Garcia.

  •  

    [Comment from Rook]
    Anything an MLS novice should know going into halftime about this game (storylines, gameplay, etc.)?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Matt, it looked to me that it wasn't so much a case of Carr not being marked, but Meyer choosing to step and force him offside while Gonzalez stayed put. That put him in the clear and there was no catching up to Carr.

  •  

    James Tyler: Not sure about where MLS "maxes out." Given the careful and calculated proliferation of new franchises -- either brand-new teams or USL/NASL clubs with strong bases simply being promoted up -- I'd say there's no real cap. That said, a league with more than 24 would become unwieldy.

  •  

    James Tyler: 10 years is a real "anything can happen" time frame, but I think MLS will be bigger and better supported than it currently is. Consider that every time the NBA and/or NHL has a labor dispute, sports like MLS are able to fill the void to a degree.

  •  

    [Comment from Cristian Mendoza]
    Where do you see mls being in 10 years if current profit making and national interest continues as it does? Where do you see additional franchises being if that's the case? And do you feel there's a certain number of teams that the mls will max out at, expansion wise?

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Most telling first half stat? Number of words exchanged between Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan: Zero

  •  

    James Tyler: Right. It's a nothing run. Pure opportunism.

  •  

    [Comment from Matt]
    Did they not expect Carr to make that run? He is totally unmarked there in the middle of two defenders. It's a nothing run 99% of the time.

  •  

    James Tyler: Agree completely, Jeff. Where L.A. has found some room out wide, the CBs are not giving an inch.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Josh Saunders made it easy for Calen Carr to beat him. Went to ground early, offered the entire top half of the goal.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I have to say, I've been impressed by Houston's backline. Even when they've been beat, someone like Ashe has been there to clean up the mess. Boswell/Taylor have been impressive.

  •  

    James Tyler: I reckon Sarvas is the most likely, if Bruce does decide to switch something during the interval.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: One option for LA is to bring on Sarvas and switch Beckham to right mid. Or bring in Buddle up top and move Donovan to right mid. Either way that has to be better than what Wilhemsson is giving them.

  •  

    James Tyler: Could work. Might work. Arena has to do something at the break, I think that much is obvious.

  •  

    [Comment from Brian]
    Maybe bring on Buddle and move Donovan back?

  •  

    James Tyler: Shocking stuff for the Galaxy to overcome in the second half. After a discombobulated opening spell, a simple move has Houston ahead.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: HT: Los Angeles 0, Houston 1.

  •  

    James Tyler: Subs Bench for L.A.: Perk (GK), Stephens, Noonan, Buddle, Gaul, Sarvas, DeLaGarza.

  •  

    [Comment from Lee GFOP]
    Do LA have anyone else who can play Right Mid? My grandmother could do better....

  •  

    James Tyler: Good point, Jeff. Saunders closed the angle but then went to ground, giving Carr a major portion of goal to aim at.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Arena was complaining to the AR, but replays showed he was onside IMO.

  •  

    James Tyler: Not the best goal, but a simple one. And one that really wounds if this score holds.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Well shut my mouth. Moffat with the pass to spring Carr. But Saunders, what was he doing going down so early? Made it easy for Carr.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    The team scoring first has won only 9 of 16 MLS Cups.

  •  

    James Tyler: Whips his protective headgear off in glee. Amazing stuff.

  •  

    James Tyler: Lovely run by Carr behind Meyer, angled ball over the top, Carr controls and thumps one past a hapless Josh Saunders from a narrow spot.

  •  

    [Comment from Lee GFOP]
    oh man

  •  

    James Tyler: That's the wake-up call this game needed!

  •  

    James Tyler: Calen Carr!

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: GOAL FOR HOUSTON

  •  

    James Tyler: Tweet your questions for MLS Commissioner Don Garber (@thesoccerdon) to answer at halftime! Use #FCBootroom to get your queries in.

  •  

    James Tyler: Decent idea as Keane floats it for Wilhelmsson to chase inside the box. Corey Ashe has none of it.

  •  

    James Tyler: 41st minute.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for Houston! Calen Carr with a chance to open the scoring as Bruin's flick-on wasn't properly cleared by Gonzalez but the Galaxy CB recovers sharply to punt the ball downfield.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: His job of late is to push further forward but I think he's going to have to start hanging back a bit more.

  •  

    James Tyler: Where is Rico Clark, too?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Houston starting to get gapped. I think Moffat has really struggled in this first half.

  •  

    James Tyler: Wilhelmsson has been poor, Jeff, agree.

  •  

    James Tyler: Best dressed manager: Bruce Arena. Relaxed suit number compared to Dom Kinnear's gym teacher vogue.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I actually think some of LA's approach work has been very good. Attacks have tended to die at the feet of Wilhelmsson.

  •  

    James Tyler: It's a very weird game so far, Kyle. Nothing too coherent from either side. Might need a little luck before this one cracks wide open.

  •  

    [Comment from Kyle]
    It seems as though L.A. is just going through the motions or trying to play to fancy. They've really only had one good look at that was the one Donovan missed.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Houston has started to have more success down the right when Sarkodie joins the attack. They'll need to use that more.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    @cablecar12 No. Two overtime periods in their entirety, then PKs if necessary.

  •  

    James Tyler: Obviously kidding. A nice round, even number would surely suffice.

  •  

    James Tyler: 62. Seven conferences, a 32-team playoff structure.

  •  

    [Comment from Jake]
    How many teams is MLS looking to have?

  •  

    James Tyler: Another corner for Houston off Gonzalez.

  •  

    James Tyler: Corner for Houston. Brad Davis launches it deep into the box, L.A. eventually clears.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I think the weakest link for LA continues to be Saunders. Every cross seems to be an adventure.

  •  

    James Tyler: Whoever it is, Pog, they'll be forking up some franchise fees.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I think Beckham has been clever in his abilty to find gaps. When Clark was closing him down early, he simply pushed upfield a tad into Moffat's territory. I think LA has also done a really good job of hunting the ball and forcing turnovers in Houston's half.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    There's also lots of speculation Orlando will get promoted into MLS, but not as the next franchise. Probably 21 or 22.

  •  

    James Tyler: Lovely run by Oscar Boniek Garcia. Where might the Dynamo be without him...

  •  

    James Tyler: If you're just joining, Landon Donovan missed a sitter inside the first 20 minutes, sidefooting wide from six yards out with Hall beaten. All of it teed up by Beckham's long ball to Keane and then Keane's superb low cross.

  •  

    James Tyler: 34th minute.

  •  

    James Tyler: So many places being bandied about. Murmurs of a massive new stadium in Tampa, of course the second NY franchise is gaining traction. Midwest could use another team to give Kansas City some serious local rivals.

  •  

    [Comment from Salisbury City FC]
    Where is the expected next city for an MLS franchise?

  •  

    James Tyler: 32 minutes gone. Jeff, what are you seeing from your vantage point? What's working/not working for LA besides Christian Wilhelmsson's awfulness?

  •  

    James Tyler: League will be fine, honestly. Beckham was a catalyst, but not the be-all and end-all. So many teams with rabid fan bases and seeing their teams weekly in soccer-specific stadia. I expect new and different DP signings, a 20th team, a continued use of social media innovation and plenty of effort put into these pockets of soccer-mad populations.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Juninho now down on the field. He's been carrying an Achilles injury for most of the playoffs. He's back up now.

  •  

    [Comment from Benjamin]
    Where does the MLS as a league stand with the departure of David Beckham, and what is the league doing to continue its impressive growth?

  •  

    James Tyler: Wilhelmsson is having a dire game so far. Surging run down the right, cuts infield slightly to make room for Franklin on the overlap but with several teammates lingering in the box for a cross, Wilhelmsson underhits his pass to Franklin making for a simple interception.

  •  

    James Tyler: 28th minute. 0-0.

  •  

    James Tyler: Real Madrid's up 2-0 now in the Derby. You can all stand down from that one.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I've been very impressed with the work of Jermaine Taylor so far. Very solid.

  •  

    James Tyler: Heh. #ArsenalJokes

  •  

    [Comment from Brian]
    It's like Steve Bould is in charge of both defenses.

  •  

    James Tyler: Which reminds me... there's a simple way to ask MLS Commissioner Don Garber some questions. Tweet to #FCBootroom and the best ones will get his attention at half time.

  •  

    James Tyler: Long ball for Sarkodie to chase, Magee overran it. Ergo, scoring chance. This game is so wildly simple sometimes.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for Houston! Kofi Sarkodie with room on the right, taps it past Magee to get into the box and shoots from a narrow angle, forcing a finger-tip save from Saunders. Ball loops over the bar and onto the ned. Corner, Houston. Cleared.

  •  

    James Tyler: The chance started from Beckham's long cross that missed everyone in the middle. Houston defense was stretched, allowing Juninho to shoot.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Looks like Clark and Moffat are droppign too deep now, giving Beckham and gevn players like Juninho too much space.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for L.A.! Ball's worked infield from the left flank for Juninho, who decides to shoot from 20 yards. Miles wide.

  •  

    James Tyler: Very open game thus far. Decent cross from Houston's left flank intended for Carr but good defending by Meyer/Gonzalez to get there first.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    @JeffKassouf Not sure about those two. I know Cristman had a bunch of great chances.

  •  

    James Tyler: Feels that way, Brian. Two best chances, for sure.

  •  

    [Comment from Brian]
    Probably should be 2-0 LA

  •  

    James Tyler: Wilhelmsson with a bit of a dive, it looked like, inside the box after wrestling past Bobby Boswell. Ref's distinctly unimpressed, as am I. Stay on your feet, lad!

  •  

    James Tyler: Ha! Saunders.

  •  

    [Comment from COYS]
    Who would you rather have in goal, Josh Saunders or Manuel Almunia?

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance for L.A.! Good delivery finds Mike Magee with a bit of room but under pressure from Adam Moffat, he shoots/heads wide.

  •  

    James Tyler: No doubt his team of handlers has noticed and will fix asap.

  •  

    [Comment from Lee GFOP]
    Beckham's hair is already a mess.....

  •  

    James Tyler: Free kick for Beckham! Bit too narrow an angle for him to shoot. Right edge of the box.

  •  

    James Tyler: Tally Hall's turn to get Josh Saunders-itis. Scoots off his line without needing to.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: LA really going at Houston's left side. A little surprsing given Sarkodie's relative inexperience on the other wing.

  •  

    James Tyler: 18 minutes gone. Still 0-0.

  •  

    James Tyler: Of course! He plays every last season if it counts.

  •  

    [Comment from Vargo]
    Think Beckham plays all 90 minutes if the game is still in doubt?

  •  

    James Tyler: Not really. He's a big part of this game, after all.

  •  

    [Comment from Sebastian]
    Does anyone find a bit concerning that the main focus of this game has been Beckham and not the game its self? I mean this is our leagues Super Bowl

  •  

    James Tyler: Wilhelmsson plays it back to Franklin who puts in a sterling cross. Hall had no clue where it was, leaves it to his defender to head clear.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Davis back on and looking okay.

  •  

    James Tyler: Better attack from Houston but the cross is just about scrambled clear. L.A.'s turn to attack.

  •  

    James Tyler: No way Davis comes out, right? Unless he collapses, can't remember his name, etc. He missed last season's MLS Cup due to injury and his absence was keenly felt. Would be a huge loss today, too.

  •  

    James Tyler: I just don't think Houston was expecting the audacious long-range pass so soon. Gotta be aware!

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Looks like Davis just took a knee to the head from Beckham. He's looking pretty groggy.

  •  

    [Comment from Lee GFOP]
    WOW.....what a chance.....i was just going to comment that Houston was being way too short in their passing...not attacking....just sort of sitting at the the top of the box, doing nothing. And then Beckham plays a wonderful ball....

  •  

    James Tyler: Quite hilarious, right? His shot was so assured but his aim way off. Amazing, really.

  •  

    [Comment from Bob]
    lol

  •  

    [Comment from John]
    How does Landon miss that?

  •  

    James Tyler: Hall was beaten, Donovan from six yards out... just, ouch.

  •  

    James Tyler: Beckham first-time ball finds Keane in acres of space down the left. He jags into the box and slots it to Donovan with half a goal to aim at... the USMNT hero confidently sidefoots it past the post. No clue how he missed.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Wow. What a miss. It all started with a Beckham long ball. Houston hasn't been as effective of late stepping to him.

  •  

    James Tyler: Donovan misses an open goal!

  •  

    James Tyler: Brad Davis wears a full-grown muskrat on his jaw, it's true.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    I've been really impressed with the beards on display so far. I think MLS may challenge for the #2 spot (behind Italy) on the facial hair front in the next few years.

  •  

    James Tyler: 11 minutes gone. Both sides trading light jabs thus far. L.A. boss Bruce Arena won't be too pleased at how cavalier Saunders is being between the posts.

  •  

    James Tyler: Tommy Meyer finds Keane for his first real touch but it skids through to Tally Hall.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Houston's turn to look nervous with some wayward clearances.

  •  

    James Tyler: More mania by Josh Saunders, sprinting out to the edge of his box to rob Will Bruin, who'd made a clever angled run. Saunders does well not to handle as he slides out of his area, eventually getting up and booting it clear.

  •  

    James Tyler: There you have it. Called.

  •  

    [Comment from sporty spice]
    LA will win 2-1. called it!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Half-chance for L.A.: Donovan almost profits from sloppy play by Adam Moffat but can't get a good shot off. Ball dribbles through to Hall.

  •  

    James Tyler: Sean Franklin's blocked off by Corey Ashe as the pair chase one into the corner. That'll be an intriguing battle today. Both quick and read the game well.

  •  

    James Tyler: Seriously, Jeff. The goalie contrast not something to concern yet, but something to watch. Saunders is actively seeking the ball -- not wise if you're coming out so far -- while Hall is letting it come. In no hurry to invite extra pressure.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Hall on the other hand with a confident claim there from Beck's free kick.

  •  

    James Tyler: Chance/half-chance for L.A.: David Beckham's quick free kick finds Wilhelmsson over the top but Tally Hall springs out to smother the loose ball.

  •  

    James Tyler: Normally home teams are galvanized by the big occasion. Houston, meanwhile, showing plenty of initiative and little fear in the first four minutes.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Saunders really looking shaky. This is the third MLS Cup he's played in.Surprising to see that.

  •  

    James Tyler: Nervy goalkeeping...

  •  

    James Tyler: Free kick, Houston, wide left and deep in midfield. Brad Davis lifts it into the box and Josh Saunders comes out a mile to punch/scramble it clear.

  •  

    James Tyler: Yeah, ref's being rather lenient early.

  •  

    James Tyler: Hoofed long down the left flank, booted clear.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Petrescu not endearing himself to the home fans early.

  •  

    James Tyler: Donovan offside down the right flank.

  •  

    James Tyler: First minute is always a bit chaotic. This one no different. Blocked cross for Houston. Saunders then with a sharp near-post save after a good move on the left flank involving Rico Clark.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Clark shadowing Becks early and getting some tackles in.

  •  

  •  

    James Tyler: L.A. in white, Houston in orange.

  •  

    James Tyler: Right then! Away we go!

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: And we're off.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Donovan is making noises to that effect Colin. We'll see. I think he just needs a vacation.

  •  

    James Tyler: I'll say no, Colin Smith, though he'll surely relish all the confusion for a bit once Beckham departs.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    IIRC, Petrescu was the MLS Referee of the Year. I think that makes him the Howard Webb, although we'll see how often he gets hit with the ball.

  •  

    [Comment from Colin Smith]
    Will this be Landon Donovan's last game with LA Galaxy and possibly in the MLS?

  •  

    James Tyler: HARSH.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    I'm predicting that Brad Davis' ears will win MOTM today

  •  

    James Tyler: Jeff, is he the Howard Webb of MLS? Clattenburg?

  •  

    [Comment from Rudy]
    GO Dynamo! City of Houston is behind our championship team!

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Atmosphere on the field is a slice of magic. Great day for American soccer if the quality of football can match it

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Your referees today BTW, are Silviu Peterscu in the middle with Daniel Belleau and Darren Clark as the ARs.

  •  

    James Tyler: Not sure where to begin, Scott. Fact is that tons of kids these days play soccer. We shall see what this means for future generations...

  •  

    [Comment from Scott]
    We are the fastest nation in the world. What are we doing to recruit our fastest track athletes into soccer? In the 80s track stars shined in the NFL. Do you think track athletes could revolutionize the American soccer game? SPEED KILLS!

  •  

    [Comment from Bob Wolz]
    Go Houston!!!!!!!!!!! It's time for the 3rd title since moving!!!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Galaxy by one. Good game though. They'll come from behind as they did vs. Vancouver.

  •  

    [Comment from sam]
    who do u think will win

  •  

    James Tyler: Hearing that Donovan got a bigger cheer than Beckham during the lineup announcements. That's a fun one to unpack.

  •  

    James Tyler: When in doubt, DeSelby, guess Atleti.

  •  

    [Comment from DeSelby]
    Agreed on the Madrid derby, JT. I just might stick with it though until Real go up by two. Not sure which will be the first team to be reduced to 10 men. Probably Atleti.

  •  

    [Comment from JOJO]
    From Houston, live in Los Angeles, rooting for the Dynamo!!!!!!!!!!

  •  

    [Comment from Seth]
    LA 3-1 Keane 9' Donovan 33' Bruin 44' Beckham 81'

  •  

    James Tyler: SEC title game but a closer contest than you think.

  •  

    [Comment from Brian]
    Which game will have more goals/points: MLS cup or SEC title game?

  •  

    James Tyler: Premature celebration. 15 yard penalty.

  •  

    [Comment from Herald]
    GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Mere minutes from kickoff, folks... teams are out and agitated. All the bluster is over now. Time to get on with it. Get stuck in. Get the job done.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    Epic coif. RT @adamduerson: Slowly becoming a Dynamo believer instagr.am/p/StacYrhxdt/

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    One last time America. pic.twitter.com/M3XVPAow

  •  

    James Tyler: In other news, the Madrid derby has been a grim and misshapen mess in the first half. Stick with the MLS Cup for once, I say.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I would say no to that Vargo. He was a pretty decent player in his time by MLS standards.

  •  

    James Tyler: Oh Bob. Hate the player, don't hate the game. Beckham's been good for the league, regardless of how much you believe the raw data.

  •  

    [Comment from Vargo]
    Jeff, is it accurate to suggest that it was Cobi Jones' dreadlocks more than his talent that drew attention to the MLS all those years ago?

  •  

    [Comment from Bob Wolz]
    It will be good when Beckham actually leaves the MLS, sick of hearing the media hoopla around him.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: And we have pyrotechnics!

  •  

    James Tyler: The teams! Dynamo's orange looking particularly bright today.

  •  

    James Tyler: What's interesting in that is Landon Donovan. What impact will he have on his travels? Assuming he leaves, something he's only hinted at.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: And here come the players.

  •  

    [Comment from Abes05]
    Yeah i think anywhere Beckham Goes either way he always has an impact some way or another

  •  

    James Tyler: Smart move Lee. Smart move. We won't steer you wrong.

  •  

    [Comment from Lee GFOP]
    Should be a good game....had to put on the chat so I can get real good commentary......

  •  

    James Tyler: Teams are striding down the tunnel. If you're not up for this as a player, you're a robot.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    RT @MLS: This is #MLSCup. Go to ESPN, now. pic.twitter.com/gejxSiju

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Two former Galaxy greats there.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Looks like Cobi Jones and Mauricio Cienfuegos are bringing out the MLS Cup trophy.

  •  

    James Tyler: Where next for Beckham? I say Neptune. Good little intergalactic league forming there. Kaka's signing for Triton FC.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Understood TEDWARD. Thanks for the kind words.

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    It's gonna be sad to see beckham leave the galaxy but he had a good run with the LA Galaxy Soccer Club

  •  

    James Tyler: Let the record show my head picked L.A. but my heart is with the Dynamo. They may lack the vogue styling of the West Coast pretty boys, but there's more to this game than brand.

  •  

    [Comment from TEDWARD]
    Jeff, I was referring more to the muppets ESPN has on the televsion. You seem to know what you're talking about. Let Kasey Keller have the pre-game show to himself! Please.

  •  

    [Comment from JeffreyCarlisle via Twitter]
    Crowd filling in nicely. #mlscup #mlscup2012 pic.twitter.com/SVnLTItk

  •  

    James Tyler: Biggest influence in MLS: Rafa Marquez. Seriously. Great ad for the powder keg industry.

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    Beckham sure has had a more positive impact than Henry.

  •  

    James Tyler: Excited for what should be a grand final. Sun emerging, two teams with little to split them.

  •  

    [Comment from Rudy]
    Greetings from Houston, Texas. How are y'all doin?

  •  

    James Tyler: Must give credence to the Dynamo. One senses that Dom Kinnear lives to be underestimated. Suits him just right. Pressure and focus can be someone else's burden, leaving him free to innovate, motivate and (hopefully) execute.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Indeed. Upper stands packed. Lower bowl starting to fill in.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Like I've said TEDWARD, I really like the tandem of Garcia and Davis in the attack. It will be interesting to see how high Clark presses up the field. Kinnear has said as much that they will need to get in Beckham's face. Clark is the guy to do it, though Beckham will no doubt try to move around to find space.

  •  

    [Comment from Brian]
    LA's the defending champions, and their best two players are likely leaving after this game, why wouldn't the conversation be about them?

  •  

    James Tyler: Sell-out crowd at HDC for this one. Temporary stands put up to handle overflow. Great atmosphere, it seems.

  •  

    James Tyler: See? Beckham even changes weather systems, single-handedly.

  •  

    James Tyler: The rematch, the "last game", the home field... odds stacked up.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Ah! The sun has made an appearance, just in time.

  •  

    James Tyler: Jeff's got a voluminous knowledge of Houston's midfield, TEDWARD. We're just not convinced it will help. Hard to deny that the Galaxy is the main story here.

  •  

    [Comment from TEDWARD]
    why is the analysis/conversation ALWAYS about L.A.? And why do Bretos and Lalas have jobs on television? Forever Orange

  •  

    James Tyler: Beckham. When he speaks, sunshine pours from his billboard-esque visage.

  •  

    James Tyler: Houston: 1-Hall; 8-Sarkodie, 4-Taylor, 32-Boswell, 26-Ashe; 27-Garcia, 13-R. Clark, 16-Moffat, 11-Davis; 3-Carr, 12-Bruin

    LA: 12-Saunders; 5-Franklin, 4-Gonzalez, 21-Meyer, 2-Dunivant; 9-Wilhelmsson, 23-Beckham, 19-Juninho, 18-Magee; 10-Donovan, 7-Keane

  •  

    James Tyler: Your lineups again...

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: They're rolling out the red carpet for the two teams. Literally. Looks like both sides will walk through a nice little MLS Cup arch as well.

  •  

    James Tyler: Two teams with plenty of games in its legs.

  •  

    James Tyler: L.A. also fought hard. Come from behind win to beat Vancouver, a nervy battle with San Jose and a composed two-leg fight vs. Seattle.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Definitely possible, especially with Garcia there to help out Davis in the attack.

  •  

    James Tyler: Houston's been through several dog fights to get to MLS Cup. Think they have one final scrap left in them?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: The sprinklers have come on, though given the amount of rain in the last few days, I'm not sure why.

  •  

    James Tyler: Heh. That meme never gets old.

  •  

    [Comment from DeSelby]
    Of course Keane will stay. He always dreamt of playing for the Galaxy when he was growing up.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    We've all got an #MLSCup chat but does yours have an #FCBootroom with @JeffreyCarlisle? Didn't think so. j.mp/RphIf1

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Houston has left the field, whereas some Galaxy players are getting some last-minute shots on goal in.

    And yes, I agree that Keane will be back. Says he likes it in LA.

  •  

    James Tyler: He'll be there. He's committed, even if his superstar mates shuffle on.

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    What happens with Keane next year? When was the last time he stayed with the same team for more than a year?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Actually I'm not surprised about Wilhelmsson. When Donovan has played up top, Wilhelmsson has been the guy to play on the right. That puts Buddle on the bench, which given his current form is where he belongs.

  •  

    James Tyler: Look at that shiny, proud MLS Cup. Will make a lovely holiday centerpiece for someone's dining room table.

  •  

    James Tyler: Curious to see Wilhelmsson starting today, Jeff? Been a bit of a permanent sub since joining L.A.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Which is nice.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Messiah men's soccer beats Ohio Northern 5-1 to win record 9th D-III title, all in the past 13 years.

  •  

    [Comment from scknd]
    Send the spice boy back to where he came from. GO DYNAMO!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Yeah, good point Jeff. Though Lampard, I think, has still "got it." Whatever "it" is.

  •  

    James Tyler: Here's a fun one before we go all-MLS: Daily Mail hinting that Arsene Wenger's getting a little job fatigue. Quote: "This is starting to hurt." All paper guff but still fun to think about.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Big difference for me is that he's 35, significantly older than when Becks joined the league. Not many more miles on those legs.

  •  

    James Tyler: The Lampard question is one that will rage for ages now. People think he's a natural fit in L.A., snugly replacing Beckham in that midfield playmaker role. Pirlo-super-lite.

  •  

    James Tyler: Ha! Wouldn't that be something, Morty. I'm convinced that PSG and Chelsea should simply trade places. Might work best for all parties.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Ching that is, not Becks.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Yep. He's more of a supersub these days than a 90 minute player, but he can still be a physical force when called upon.

  •  

    [Comment from Morty]
    Maybe Becks will switch teams with Lamps? Maybe Beckham can get Torres going?

  •  

    James Tyler: Ahh, Brian Ching. I'd almost forgotten he exists.

  •  

    James Tyler: @POG -- I'll drop you a line.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Kandji is one. Luiz Camargo is another if Houston needs some bolstering in midfield late. There's also Brian Ching who knows a thing or two about scoring in MLS Cup finals, having grabbed a critical equalizer in the 2006 match.

  •  

    James Tyler: Who does Houston have on the bench with regard to impact subs? Mac Kandji?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Interesting to see Marcelo Sarvas of the Galaxy participating in the pregame keep-away drill. He's not starting, but he looks fit enough to come on as a sub if need be.

  •  

    James Tyler: A 50-50 split among all as to whether Beckham gets his dream finale...

  •  

    [Comment from Guest]
    forever orange

  •  

    [Comment from Chris_FC]
    GALAXY ALL THE WAY !

  •  

    James Tyler: It is a bat signal for the wonderful computer warrior, Pog. Glad you noticed our clarion call.

  •  

    [Comment from Pog]
    Boot ROOOOOOM. I'll be honest: I don't like the MLS playoff system, I think it brings out the worst aspects of the deal with the devil that is the Designated Player system. Or maybe that's all a roundabout way of saying I don't like the Galaxy. Regardless, when I see the BOOT ROOM logo lighting up the sky, I am drawn near...

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Damn you JT. That was mine. I'll go with LA 3-2 in an epic encounter.

  •  

    James Tyler: They've still got time, Jeff!

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Odd pockets of packed fans, and then some gaps of empty seats as well in the lower bowl. Upper deck is almost filled though.

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Houston Hardcore sing: "we came to wreck everything and ruin your life" pic.twitter.com/dsIcJNRM

  •  

    James Tyler: I've laid mine -- 2-1 to L.A. with Houston scoring first.

  •  

    James Tyler: So who's got predictions?

  •  

    [Comment from Patrick]
    El Battallloooooooon

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle:

    Not to be outdone by Mr. Carr, here is my preview.

  •  

    James Tyler: Wonder if Brad Davis has a bit of CR7 in his boots with a set piece.

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    ICYMI, Five Aside's #MLSCup preview, featuring Beckham, Davis, Garcia & Keane. es.pn/UwJZ2r

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: The Texian Army band has begun serenading the crowd.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesHMartin via Twitter]
    More news before MLS Cup starts -- Ronaldo cracking free kick to give Real the first goal of Madrid derby.

  •  

    James Tyler: Also, what tricks might Dom Kinnear have up his sleeve for the Dynamo? He's never afraid to mix it up, swap formations, change his tact, switch personnel.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I think so, JT. I see a lot of simiarities between Houston's and SJ's back lines. Boswell is a little less prone to the huge mistake than Victor Bernardez, but I think Keane's mobility will test him.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Interesting to note that the HDC hasn't exactly been a fortress for the Galaxy this season. Record is 10-6-1. Last home regular season loss was against RSL on 10/6. They also lost at home to SJ in the playoffs.

  •  

    James Tyler: I'm most intrigued by Robbie Keane. Often the least heralded of L.A'.s superstars, his goals are what got the Galaxy here. Will we get some more somersaults out of the ageless Irishman?

  •  

    James Tyler: Just about 15 minutes until the live broadcast begins...

  •  

    [Comment from Patrick]
    GL Galaxy. you'll need it.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesHMartin via Twitter]
    Jose Mourinho the longest serving manager in the top flight of La Liga right now. #Rafacalling?

  •  

    James Tyler: Two 4-4-2s eh? Like a warm tactical blanket.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: This all makes sense. Meyer preferred over AJ DeLaGarza who hasn't played in two months. Donovan and Keane up top together also not a surprise. They've been devestating together in these playoffs.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: LA: Saunders; Franklin, Gonzalez, Meyer, Dunivant; Wilhelmsson, Beckham, Juninho, Magee; Donovan, Keane

  •  

    James Tyler: A settled XI is a happy XI. Now ain't the time to tinker.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Houston: Hall; Sarkodie, Taylor, Boswell, Ashe; Garcia, R. Clark, Moffat, Davis; Carr, Bruin

    No surprises there.

  •  

    James Tyler: Hearing that A.J. DeLaGarza is indeed starting on the bench despite recovering from injury. Young Meyer's given the start as he's been consistent. Carr and Rico Clark both fit enough to start for Dom Kinnear's Dynamo.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I would have to agree. Houston did seem very relaxed for the press conferences yesterday. L.A., Donovan in particular looked oddly tense.

  •  

    James Tyler: Jeff, do we have lineups yet?

  •  

    James Tyler: Prediction-wise, I'm plumping for L.A. Hate to say it but I think they do the job and give their brand vanguard, Davey Becks, the successful, picture-perfect send-off he deserves. 2-1 final score. Dynamo's goal is an early one.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Indeed. But I think Calen Carr will be an interesting guy to watch for Houston. His runs into the corners could be just the thing to keep a guy like Franklin from venturing too far forward.

  •  

    [Comment from JOJO]
    GO DYNAMO GO!!!!!!!!!

  •  

    James Tyler: Up top, edge has to go to L.A. Robbie Keane's in blistering form.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Both teams have come out for pregame warmups. Raucous applause for the Galaxy.

  •  

    James Tyler: So true. Fascinating that in a game of stars, Mike Magee could again be the difference maker. Then again, that's been his calling card!

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Beckham and some other guy take the field pic.twitter.com/iNwJE9k1

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Agreed. But don't forget about Mike Magee. He always seems to come big in moments like this.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I'd give L.A. the slightest of edges in the back. It will be interesting to see how Meyer holds up. He's grown up a lot in these playoffs, but this is a huge occasion. I think Sean Franklin is a bit of a wildcard as well with his abilty to get forward on the break.That said, Houston's defense is solid.

  •  

    James Tyler: For me, the midfield's almost too close to call. Yes, David Beckham/Juninho are formidable, but the Clark/Davis/Boniek Garcia triumvirate is more than capable of neutralizing.

  •  

    James Tyler: What about backlines? Omar Gonzalez and co more assured?

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: I'll take Tally Hall over Josh Saunders any day. He's much more consistent.

  •  

    James Tyler: The Madrid derby just kicked off also. So much good footy on tap this chilly Saturday afternoon.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: The Berm/Grassy Knoll is beginning to fill in as well with fans, although on a wet day like today, not exactly the most comfortable spot to take in a game.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: In terms of atmosphere, lots of "L-A; Gal-ax-y" chants going up. But the Texian Army section is beginning to fill in as well.

  •  

    James Tyler: Better goalie: L.A. or Houston?

  •  

    James Tyler: Jeff, let's do a v. brief tale of tape...

  •  

    [Comment from PCarrESPN via Twitter]
    Lost amid the Messi-ness, Barcelona is 13-0-1 this season, the best start by any club in La Liga history.

  •  

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: The first goal is always key. Lots of experience on both sides though, so I don't expect either team to be rattled by something like that.

  •  

  •  

  •  

    [Comment from rogbennett via Twitter]
    Beckham People pic.twitter.com/70rXL9WH

  •  

    [Comment from Lake]
    Perhaps always the case, but first goal will be important. Particularly if Houston can strike early.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Lots of other interesting subplots too. You have the two childhood friends, L.A. defender Tommy Meyer and Houston forward Will Bruin going at it. Clark both getting his chance to at last *play* in an MLS Cup. Brad Davis leading the team out after missing out on last year's game. Oh yeah, Becks and Landon too.

  •  

    James Tyler: Wonder if we'll get a result like the one Man Utd got at the Madejski Stadium earlier today...

  •  

    James Tyler: After all, so many seem to think today's game is preordained in L.A.'s favor. Yet better teams have ignored the Dynamo at their peril already in the playoffs.

  •  

    James Tyler: Hopefully their first rendez-vous is appropriately bone-chattering.

  •  

    Jeff Carlisle: Greetings everyone, from a damp, but not too chilly Home Depot Center. I think the Galaxy will prevail today, but I'm interested to see how long it takes Ricardo Clark to introduce himself to David Beckham.

  •  

    James Tyler: Jeff, do you agree? And good afternoon to you, by the way! All the way from the HDC Press Box.

  •  

    [Comment from juan]
    the galaxy is a better team and they will win today.

  •  

    [Comment from JamesTylerESPN via Twitter]
    @the_number_game Good point. Smart to write ahead of time. Just in case.

  •  

    James Tyler: Will David Beckham get his Hollywood ending? Will anyone care about Landon Donovan? Or will Houston, blessed playoff experts, spoil the party atmosphere at the Home Depot Center?

  •  

    James Tyler: A repeat of last season's final -- L.A. vs. Houston -- but will it play out the same way in 2012?

  •  

    James Tyler: MLS Cup!

 
COMPLETE TEAM CLOSE X
Goal Shot Video
  •  
  • Shots (on goal)

  • tackles

  • Fouls

  • possession

  • Los Angeles

  • 11(4)

  • 21

  • 17

  • 41%

    59%

  • Houston

  • 15(6)

  • 19

  • 13

Houston

Line-up
POS No Name

G

1 Tally Hall

D

4 Jermaine Taylor

D

8 Kofi Sarkodie
F
25 Brian Ching

D

26 Corey Ashe

D

32 Bobby Boswell

M

11 Brad Davis

M

13 Ricardo Clark

M

16 Adam Moffat
M
23 Giles Barnes

M

27 Oscar Boniek García

F

3 Calen Carr
F
9 Macoumba Kandji

F

12 Will Bruin
 
Substitutes
POS No Name
G 24 Tyler Deric
D 31 Andrew Hainault
M 15 Cameron Weaver
M 17 Luiz Camargo
M 23 Giles Barnes
F 9 Macoumba Kandji
F 25 Brian Ching

Match Stats

  • Los Angeles
  • Houston
11(4) Shots (on goal) 15(6)
17 Fouls 13
3 Corner kicks 9
3 Offsides 2
41% Time of Possession 59%
1 Yellow Cards 2
0 Red Cards 0
5 Saves 1