There was much at stake in the 2011 MLS Cup championship game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and the Houston Dynamo last Sunday night at Home Depot Center. The 2011 MLS Coach of the Year and Galaxy coach, Bruce Arena, and his counterpart, Houston’s Dominick Kinnear, were both seeking their second MLS Cup victory; the Galaxy not only had the pressure as favorites but had the added pressure of having to protect its undefeated home record this year.
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, coming off a very successful week after scoring days before to help the Republic of Ireland qualify for the 2012 European Cup, wanted to stay in victory mode and win his first MLS Cup in his first season in MLS; and probably the most intriguing item surrounding the game was if David Beckham, who had his best MLS season in this, his last of a five year contract, would complete his U.S. sojourn with the MLS Cup championship. Some even speculated that a victory for Beckham and the Galaxy would encourage his return to MLS.
Well, Landon Donovan scored in the second half to give Los Angeles its third MLS championship and first in six years. So, Arena got his third MLS Cup victory, Keane stayed in victory mode and Beckham can now leave MLS as a champion. Beckham became only the third Englishman to win club championships in three different countries: the English Premiership title with Manchester United, a La Liga title with Real Madrid in Spain and with the Galaxy. Asked the question that is on everyone’s mind regarding a return to the Galaxy, Beckham focused his answer on the importance of the win. He said that it was a long time coming, as a good measure of relief dominated the tone of his voice.
After a first half that saw the Galaxy dominate but couldn’t make use of numerous chances that it created, including Adam Chrisman’s open header off a Beckham corner in the 30th minute, the Galaxy continued to dominate in the second half. It seemed to the sellout crowd at Home Depot Center just a matter of time of time before their Galaxy scored; the time came in the 72nd minute when the Los Angeles Galaxy of stars came together for the only score. Beckham headed on the ball to Keane, who fed Donovan who made a diagonal run from just outside the 18 yard box only to flick the ball past the on-rushing Dynamo goalkeeper. Donovan, who scored his 20th play-off goal, was voted 2011 MLS MVP.
Arantes wins Bronx League
The Bronx New York International Soccer League has just concluded its 36th season with an Award Presentation and Dinner Dance. The Digicel-sponsored Hugh Lawrence Championship Trophy was won by Arantes and head coach Bobby Austin and his team proudly accepted the award as champion of the 2011 season. Second placed was Kandia Football Club.
In other team awards, semifinalist New Upsetters won the Most Improved trophy; while Selassie F.C was voted Most Disciplined team award, which was accepted by Coach Teddy McKenzie. In the individual awards, Howard Benjamin of New York Upsetters won the Most Valuable Player award; O ‘Marley Francis of Kandia F.C. copped the Best Goalkeeper award; James Darby of Akademia F.C. took home the Best Defender trophy and Brian Wollaston, also of Akademia F.C. was the Most Outstanding Midfielder. Valentino Fogo of Arantes was the leading goal scorer with 10 goals. Austin of Arantes F.C. was voted Coach of The Year.
In a special award, the Bronx League President, Glen Porter, presented an Appreciation Plaque to Evander Childs High School principal, Barbara Kirkweg for her continued support of the Bronx International Soccer league.
Martin Luther King High School boys soccer team won the 2011 New York City Public High School Championship last Sunday at Randall’s island Stadium. It was the school’s 13th Public School title in the last 16 years. The team played undefeated throughout the season with a record of 19-0. MLK was ranked No. I in the state by ESPNHS, which covers high school sports, and the NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America). The team was ranked No. 3 in the nation by the NSCAA and No. 5 by ESPNHS.
Monroe College Exceptional
Monroe Community College in New Rochelle (NY) had an exceptional year in soccer as both men’s and women’s soccer teams reached their respective NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) national championship games, but both finished second in the nation. The Monroe Mustangs (14-1-2) men’s team lost to Cloud County Community College (Kansas), 4-1, in the NJCAA Division I national final last Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona; Sagi Levi-ari scored the only goal for the Mustangs. Lanin Janneh and Anthony Asante were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
The Lady Mustangs (14-1-1) fell, 4-0, to a strong Montgomery C.C. team at the NJCAA Div. III championship game at Courtland, New York the week before. Mikaela Howell, Happy Orere-Amadu and Djegnale Dioubate were selected to the All-Tournament Team. Howell was also named Region V co-MVP with Evelyn Mendez of BMCC and was selected to the Region V First Team; Dioubate, Amadu, Astrid Lasso and Fatima Ba were named to the Region V Second Team