Landon Donovan walked away with the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player award. David Beckham finally cemented his legacy in Major League Soccer. Along with Irishman Robbie Keane, LA's three Designated Players combined to create the game's only goal.
It was only natural then that the big-name trio grabbed the majority of the plaudits following the Galaxy's 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo in MLS Cup 2011. But even with the spotlight occupied elsewhere, nobody should be dismissing the efforts of the eight other players on the field for LA.
A.J. DeLaGarza's calm clearance found the head of Beckham to start the incisive move, and the diminutive defender didn't have a misstep in yet another shutout. Next to him, MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez was his usual, ball-winning best, shutting down Brian Ching and Carlo Costly as Josh Saunders had almost nothing to do on the night.
Sean Franklin combined ably with Donovan, especially in the first half, and never let Corey Ashe use his breakaway speed to burst into daylight. Alongside Beckham, Juninho had yet another brilliant game anchoring the midfield. The Brazilian was the main reason Luiz Camargo and Adam Moffat were essentially nonfactors.
So while they weren't in the headlines, all four's contributions were critical to the Galaxy's success. Only one can be LA's unsung hero, though.
We'll leave that decision up to you.