Donovan gets Golden Boot in entertaining season finaleBy iyeo • Oct 28th, 2008 • Category: Match Reports
A season-ending match that didn’t feature any drama regarding the MLS playoff race still provided for plenty of entertainment.
The Los Angeles Galaxy and FC Dallas ended their respective 2008 campaigns against each other at the Home Depot Center on Sunday afternoon. Even though both teams will be watching the 2008 MLS playoffs on their television sets, the two teams still left everything out on the field, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
“There was some character shown by our team,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena said. “The players picked themselves up, they took the responsibility to share the workload and deal with the circumstances that we had.”
The match did feature the league’s top two goal scorers; Landon Donovan of the Galaxy and FC Dallas’ Kenny Cooper. Donovan was one ahead of Cooper in the golden boot race with 19 goals heading into Sunday’s match.
Beckham also notched his 10th assist for the season despite being questionable for the match with a quadriceps injury.
“They were burning,” Beckham said regarding his quads.
Donovan came out the winner, as he notched up his 20th goal of the season on a penalty kick in the 78th minute. Eddie Lewis was fouled harshly by goalkeeper Dario Sala while chasing down a David Beckham pass. Referee Tim Weyland awarded the penalty kick and Donovan successfully buried the shot to the far right post. The Galaxy almost had the lead three minutes later, as Beckham crossed a ball into the box, but the header by forward Edson Buddle missed to the far left post by a mere inches.
The two players linked up with more successful outcome in the first half. Beckham crossed a ball into the box and Buddle headed the ball into back of the net at the far right post in the 21st minute. Buddle almost made it a two-goal afternoon, as he tracked a deep ball sent by Mike Randolph, fought off several defenders and let loose a laser that bounced off the right post.
FC Dallas soon had its say. Victor Sikora sent a free kick into the box that was deflected by LA goalkeeper Josh Wicks. The ball however stayed in the box and following a brief touch by defender Adrian Serioux, defender Drew Moor buried the point blank shot for the equalizer in the 34th minute of play. Four minutes later. FC Dallas took the lead when defender Duilio Davino served a ball forward that was tracked down by Sikora, who broke for goal and beat Wicks to the right post from 16 yards out.
The Galaxy’s afternoon looked even more bleak towards the end of the half when midfielder Alvaro Pires was red-carded in the 40th minute for a vicious tackle on Sikora while trying to stop a counter. FC Dallas though conceded the man-advantage in the second half, when defender Aaron Pitchkolan received his second yellow-card in the 49th minute for tripping Donovan.
“It was a difficult game for both teams,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said.
Sunday’s match also marked the final time in uniform for FC Dallas midfielder Bobby Rhine and Galaxy defender Greg Vanney, who announced his retirement prior to the match. Rhine got the start and the captain’s armband and Vanney came in as a sub for Brandon McDonald in stoppage time and received the armband from Beckham.
Sunday’s match ends a season of turbulence for both clubs. FC Dallas fired then head coach Steve Morrow follwing a 2-23 start and a humiliating 5-1 defeat at home against the Galaxy on May 18. Marco Ferruzzi took over on an interim basis before eventually giving way to Hyndman in June. FC Dallas improved well enough to stay in the playoff race until its elimination last week.
FC Dallas’ questions pale in comparison to that of the Galaxy, which endured a 12-match winless streak that lasted over three months and saw head coach Ruud Gullitt resign and general manager Alexi Lalas fired. Apart from needing to address a defense that surrendered its 61st and 62nd goals of the season on Sunday, there is also the future surrounding its two top players Beckham and Donovan. Beckham is reportedly working out a short-term loan deal with Serie A club AC Milan in order to remain fit for continued selection to the England national team. A potential deal would allow him to train and possibly feature in matches with the Italian giants for at least two months, starting in January. Beckham has insisted that the impending loan deal will not turn into a permanent transfer and that he would be in a Galaxy uniform for the start of the 2009 season.
Donovan’s status is not so much clear. Donovan has repeatedly stated that he is ready to make the move to Europe, but only if the right situation came along. German club Bayern Munich showed interest in Donovan during the season and it remains to be seen if they still are interested. Then there is the question of whether or not MLS and the Galaxy are willing to give up the most celebrated American player, even for a steep price.
“Obviously, there’s a lot of ifs,” Donovan said. “From my standpoint, I’m ready to make that step, and I want to.”
Though it will not participate in the 2008 MLS playoffs, the Galaxy will still be active on the pitch in the offseason, as it will embark on a tour of Australia and New Zealand in December.
FC Dallas (8-10-12) vs. Los Angeles Galaxy (8-13-9)
October 26, 2008 — The Home Depot Center
LA — Edson Buddle 15 (David Beckham 10, Eddie Lewis 2) 21
DAL — Drew Moor 2 (Adrian Serioux 4) 34
DAL — Victor Sikora 1 (Duilio Davino 1) 39
LA — Landon Donovan 20 (penalty kick) 79
FC Dallas — Dario Sala, Drew Moor, Duilio Davino, Aaron Pitchkolan, Adrian Serioux (Michael Dello-Russo 67), Blake Wagner, Bobby Rhine (Chase Wileman 58), Bruno Guarda, Victor Sikora (Andre Rocha 64), Kenny Cooper, Jeff Cunningham,
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Avila, Ray Burse, Dominic Oduro, Jamie Watson
Los Angeles Galaxy — Josh Wicks, Sean Franklin, Julian Valentin (Bryan Jordan 54), Mike Randolph, Chris Klein, Alvaro Pires, David Beckham, Landon Donovan, Eddie Lewis, Edson Buddle, Alan Gordon (Brandon McDonald 46) (Greg Vanney 93+),
Substitutes Not Used: Steve Cronin, Ante Jazic, Troy Roberts, Josh Tudela
LA — Edson Buddle (caution; Tactical Foul) 4
DAL — Aaron Pitchkolan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 28
LA — Alvaro Pires (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 40
LA — David Beckham (caution; Dissent) 42
DAL — Adrian Serioux (caution; Dissent) 42
DAL — Aaron Pitchkolan (ejection; Second Caution) 49
DAL — Dario Sala (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 92+
referee: Tim Weyland
Referee’s Assistants: Emiliano Monje; David Bragg
4th official: Ramon Hernandez
time of game: 1:53
weather: Clear -and- 82 degrees