Sunday, August 30, 2015

A $12 million goal wins the MLS Cup for the Los Angeles Galaxy

For those of you who spent last night watching the Eagles-Giants game instead of the MLS Cup final, I thought you might like to know this little tidbit about the Los Angeles Galaxy's 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.

A $12 million goal wins the MLS Cup for the Los Angeles Galaxy

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David Beckham lived up to the hype in what might have been his final season in Major League Soccer. (Bret Hartman/AP)
David Beckham lived up to the hype in what might have been his final season in Major League Soccer. (Bret Hartman/AP)

For those of you who spent last night watching the Eagles-Giants game instead of the MLS Cup final, I thought you might like to know this little tidbit about the Los Angeles Galaxy's 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo.

The winning goal involved all three of the team's designated players: David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan. Beckham flicked a clearance from the back line on to Keane, who made a great run and sent a slick pass to Donovan. The U.S. national team star nailed the finish, deftly flicking his shot past an onrushing Tally Hall.

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at just how much the Galaxy spent in order to score that goal. So I dug up the most recent set of MLS salary figures that were published, back in September. Here are the numbers:

- David Beckham: $6,500,000.04
- Robbie Keane: $3,417,243.15
- Landon Donovan: $2,300,000.00

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Which means that the total cost of the goal was $12,217,243.19.

By contrast, the combined payroll figure of the entire Houston Dynamo's was $3,492,155.24. The Galaxy's expenditure on Designated Players alone was 3.5 times that size.

Was the Galaxy's money well spent? Well, this was the first time in Major League Soccer's 16-year history that a team with a Designated Player on its roster won the championship. Houston does not currently have any Designated Players on its roster, though it has in the past. And while the Dynamo were outplayed for much of the final, they still only lost by a 1-0 margin.

In the end, I think it's fair to say that Beckham's five years in MLS have been worth the money.

Yes, there's been too much attention paid to Beckham at times - at the expense of Donovan, among many others across MLS. But especially this year, Beckham has put in some real honest work in midfield. And you cannot deny the buzz that he has brought to stadiums across the league, including here in Philadelphia.

And by the way, Beckham played Sunday night on a partially torn hamstring. That's what he said in his postgame press conference remarks, and Donovan said so too in his postgame interview on ESPN.

In the end, though, the spotlight shines upon someone who fully deserves it: Donovan, the American star who scored the winner. Nobody can work alone in soccer, but Donovan's goal Sunday night was the latest chapter in his legacy of coming up big in big games.

Did you watch the game? If so, what did you think of it? And do you think Beckham will be back in MLS next year? Have your say in the comments.

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