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Armchair Analyst: Three thoughts on why the Galaxy beat the Dynamo (again)

CARSON, Calif. — Three thoughts from the LA Galaxy's 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo in MLS Cup 2012:

1. If you can’t clear your lines on set pieces, you’re going to lose

I’m not telling you anything you don’t know with this one, but it’s a fact that, even in a Cup final, sometimes you win or lose for the most obvious reasons.

I just can’t believe that I’m typing this about the Houston Dynamo. I’m still stunned.

Yes, it was David Beckham taking the set pieces, which increases the degree of difficulty about fivefold. But it’s incredible to me that Houston weren’t able to do better on both sequences that led to the LA goals. Leaving Omar Gonzalez wide open at the back post is just … hell, leave everyone else alone and just mark that guy. He’s the one that’s the threat.

Houston came undone when it went 1-1. And the crushing thing for Dynamo fans is that if they’d just applied the fundamentals that they’d built their success on all year, it would never have gotten to 1-1 in the first place.

2. First one thing happens, and then another thing happens, and then something else happens

And that’s how goals or scored. Just as importantly, that’s how the conditions that create goals are created.

In the case of Calen Carr’s 44th minute opener, what had happened was this: Boniek García and Kofie Sarkodie were scaring the bejesus out of Todd Dunivant and Mike Magee every time they got moving forward. Which meant that the Galaxy were paying extra-special attention to them. Especially Juninho and Beckham.

So when García played a harmless, square midfield combination with Rico Clark, LA paid it a little too much mind. And when the ball was eventually cycled back to Adam Moffat, there wasn’t a single Galaxy player in a position to pressure his service at all.

Moffat’s not Brad Davis, but he’s still really good. Give him that much time, and he will find the right pass.

3. It’s a shame that this LA Galaxy team won’t get another shot at the CCL

Beckham obviously still has gas in the tank. I know Donovan’s having an existential crisis, but he sure does, as well. And yeah, someone in Europe is probably going to write Omar a check with a lot of zeroes in it, but there’s a really, really important trophy to win here. That’s worth more than money.

I wish this was the team we were going to see in March, because I think this is the team that could very well get to the summit in North America, and find themselves in the Club World Cup at the end of the year.

Nobody in MLS has done it yet. Maybe LA still can. Maybe it’ll be Seattle or Houston.

Somebody will, this year or the next, or further into the future. But it just feels like it should have been Landon Donovan and David Beckham’s LA Galaxy.

Oh well.


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