By Avi Creditor, Goal.com
CARSON, Calif. -- In a flash, the Los Angeles Galaxy went from the cusp of falling off the top of the MLS mountain to fortifying its place as the league's most elite franchise.
Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan scored within minutes of each other to overcome Calen Carr's 44th-minute goal, and the Galaxy added a stoppage-time Robbie Keane penalty to capture its second consecutive MLS Cup title and send David Beckham out of MLS as a two-time champion with a 3-1 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 30,510 at the Home Depot Center.
Donovan netted the winner -- his MLS record 22nd postseason goal and record fifth MLS Cup goal -- from the penalty spot in the 65th minute, after a scramble in the area resulted in a handball on Ricardo Clark. That came moments after Gonzalez headed home the equalizer off a feed from Juninho. Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall had punched away a Beckham corner kick, but the ball worked its way back to Sean Franklin and then to Juninho, who sent in a perfect ball from the right to Gonzalez, who headed home in the 61st minute.
The Dynamo had taken the lead through Carr just before halftime. Adam Moffat played the speedy forward down the right, where he beat Tommy Meyer for pace and was kept onside by Gonzalez. Carr took a touch toward goal and finished with a blast by Josh Saunders as Meyer tracked back to recover, giving Houston a huge momentum swing heading into halftime.
Carr had been out with a left hamstring strain, missing the Eastern Conference final series against D.C. United but regained fitness at a perfect time for the Dynamo. He had a would-be second goal robbed by Saunders, who went full extension to his left to snatch a point-blank header from Carr off a feed from Will Bruin in the 56th minute. He departed soon after with an apparent leg injury after colliding with Gonzalez, though, and the Galaxy promptly equalized moments later.
The Galaxy had their fair share of chances to get on the board earlier in the game but couldn't convert. Donovan missed the most golden of the chances in the 13th minute. Beckham picked out Keane down the left with a trademark long pass out of the back, and Keane set up Donovan perfectly from point-blank range on a 2-on-1. The Galaxy captain's first-time effort went wide of the mark, though, as confetti cannons at the Home Depot Center shot off in anticipation of the finish.
The Galaxy then had another great chance in the 20th minute, with Beckham serving a pinpoint free kick from the right to the far post, where Mike Magee's close-range header went over the bar. Keane then had an apparent-equalizing goal waved off in the 48th minute after a redirected Beckham free kick was sent in Keane's path, but the Irishman was in an offside position as he fired past Hall.
Keane got his in the waning seconds, though, earning a penalty on Hall off a breakaway and firing home from the penalty spot to ice the match.
With the victory, Donovan has a record-tying five MLS Cup triumphs, Bruce Arena has an MLS-record four as a coach and the Galaxy tied D.C. United with a league-best four MLS Cup titles.
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