Major League Soccer final brings end of Beckham eraDecember 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2012 | 3 Comments
Well, that is it for the 2012 MLS season. The team the MLS dearly wanted to win got to take the prize for the second year running. While the conspiracy theorists might say it was manufactured this way (and I must say when I saw the choice of referee I began to wonder myself), there is no doubt the LA Galaxy are the class of the league on any given match day. While other teams may have accumulated more points, (The Galaxy finished 8th in points during the regular season), when the Galaxy are firing on all cylinders, they are better than any other team in the league.
The Galaxy’s group of rather lazy stars led by Keane, Beckham and Donovan ho-hummed and dawdled their way through the regular season knowing full well they would be in the final again, and would probably win it at a canter, which they did. We saw this when the Galaxy visited Vancouver this year. In the last 15 minutes of the match they were down 2-0 when they finally decided to try. They tied the game at 2-2 by simply turning up the heat a bit on the Whitecaps.
Landon Donovan played out his “why am I here?” drama this season, which continued through the final and even in post final interviews. What was telling was that Donovan’s will-he-won’t-he quit story was entirely eclipsed (and deservedly so) by the real story, which is David Beckham’s departure from the league. Try as Donovan might, his odd and reluctant character was never going to attract true stardom a la Beckham. Too bad the finest footballer in the league is such an odd person.
David Beckham was the league’s only true star. Beckham is more than just a footballer: he is a massive, powerful brand and a global icon. Thierry Henry makes more hi-light goals, but no one generates news and attention more than David Beckham.
His time in MLS did not start well, but three finals in a row and two championships in a row was in keeping with Beckham’s extraordinary legacy of success with each club he has played for. Beckham turned the LA Galaxy into the glamour club of the league, the closest thing the MLS has ever had to the New York Cosmos of the old North American Soccer League.
I will miss Beckham, because he had a tremendously positive effect on football in North America. Now it is up to Don Garber and MLS officials to ensure they do not squander Beckham’s legacy. My hope is that Beckham buys the LA Galaxy and continues his missionary work for the good of the game over on this side of the pond. We would all benefit.