Premier League legends David Beckham and Thierry Henry experienced differing fortunes as the MLS season approached its thrilling finale in midweek.
The regular season has ended in the US and conference playoffs are taking place to decide which teams from the Eastern and Western conferences will be present for the MLS Cup final on December 1.
The Conference semi-finals have just been concluded and the finalists for each of the Conference championships have been decided, with the winner of each two-legged tie into the grand final – a traditional one-off knockout clash.
David Beckham’s LA Galaxy have taken the circuitous route to the defence of their MLS Cup win from last year, needing to get through the knockout round against Vancouver Whitecaps to book a tie against Western conference winners San Jose Earthquakes.
It didn’ look good after the first leg, as a last minute goal saw Beckham’s side go down 0-1, giving them a tough task to qualify for the next round.
But they rallied and a blistering first-half performance saw them go 3-0 up, with a brace from Robbie Keane silencing the home crowd.
Earthquakes got a late consolation but Beckham and Landon Donovan were in control of the game and their was not a lot in the way of late scares.
It was a fantastic victory that took them to the two-legged final with Seattle Sounders and one step closer to retaining their crown.
It will be quite a turnaround for Beckham and his men, as only a late rally secured them a place in the playoffs after a stuttering regular season.
Watch the goals that took them through below…
Another MLS marquee player, Thierry Henry, did not have such a happy time in the Eastern conference playoffs.
The Arsenal legend has put in some sparkling performances at times this season, though he could not produce the magic that has got New York Red Bulls out of trouble on more than one occasion this season.
The first leg of their conference semi-final against D.C. United was a dismal affair and would have been scoreless were it not for an own goal apiece.
Henry’s glow appeared to be fading after a long season and the second leg of the tie was almost as dire as the first, though the Frenchman missed one or two gilt-edged chances.
He would end up regretting his profligacy with just two minutes left on the clock when young midfielder Nicholas DeLeon grabbed the winner on 88 minutes to break New York hearts and give D.C. United a meeting with Houston Dynamo.
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