CARSON, Calif. – Facing a difficult situation against a challenging team, the Los Angeles Galaxy responded and closed out the season with a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas to claim the Supporters' Shield in the final game of the regular season.
The win pushed the Galaxy to 59 points, three clear of Real Salt Lake and alone atop the league standings for the third time in league history and their first since 2002.
About the only negative for the hosts on Sunday night was Edson Buddle's missing out on winning the Golden Boot. San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski scored a goal Saturday to push his total to 18 and finish one ahead of Buddle, who had led the league in goals since the start of the season.
The Galaxy fell behind early after defender Sean Franklin turned the ball over deep in the Galaxy’s third. Dallas' Eric Alexander pounced on the ball and swung a cross towards the right post that Atiba Harris headed into the back of the net.
But the Galaxy battled back and leveled terms just 11 minutes later. Landon Donovan raced Jackson Gonçalves to a loose ball near FC Dallas’ end line and appeared to have shoved the defender in the back with both hands. No call was made and Donovan entered the penalty area unguarded to then pass the ball to David Beckham, who powered a 22-yard shot into the back of the net.
The Galaxy, who had failed to pick up a come-from-behind victory until September, took the lead about one minute into the second half. Juninho slammed a ball from the top of the penalty area between the legs of a defender and past goalkeeper Dario Sala, who couldn't keep out the eventual winner.
Dallas were unable to get back into the match as the Galaxy’s defense held firm.
With one minute remaining in the game, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena turned to his bench for the second and third time. Arena took out Beckham and Buddle in favor of Chris Klein and Eddie Lewis, who played their final regular-season games as each player is retiring after the season.
The Galaxy will now face Seattle in the first round of the playoffs, while FC Dallas will play at home vs. Real Salt Lake on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. CT.