CARSON, Calif. — David Beckham stood on the podium with his three sons, an oversized Union Jack knotted around his Los Angeles jersey. With a practiced lift and a broad smile, he raised the sparkling silver cup over his head to a raucous ovation amid a confetti blizzard.
Beckham wrapped up his MLS career as a two-time champion Saturday, with Landon Donovan's tie-breaking penalty-kick goal in the 65th minute propelling the Galaxy to a 3-1 victory over Houston for its second straight title.
For the second straight year, Beckham, 37, raised a trophy that stands as evidence of the English midfielder's impact on American soccer during his six seasons in Los Angeles.
"It's been a successful six years here, and now that we've won the second one, it's even more satisfying," he said. "I just hope people have enjoyed me playing here. It's what I always hope for when I step on the field."
With a three-goal second half capped by Robbie Keane's penalty-kick goal in injury time, Los Angeles won its fourth MLS Cup, tying D.C. for the league record.
Beckham will play elsewhere next year before eventually returning to MLS as an owner. With rumors linking him to teams from Sydney to Paris, he hasn't disclosed his plans beyond a Christmas vacation in England with his family, which also includes wife Victoria (Posh Spice of the Spice Girls) and a daughter.
After Calen Carr put Houston up 1-0 in the 44th minute, Los Angeles systematically broke down the defense of the Dynamo, which lost the Cup 1-0 on the same field last year.
Omar Gonzalez tied it at 1 in the 61st minute with a long header. Moments later, Donovan redeemed himself for missing an open net in the 13th minute by burying a penalty kick after a Houston handball in the box. The U.S. star, who is contemplating a departure from soccer, won his record-tying fifth MLS title while scoring his fifth career MLS Cup goal and the record 22nd goal of his postseason career.
"It's a little surreal," Donovan said. "In any sport, to repeat is really hard to do. … For me personally, this felt more satisfying (than last year). We could enjoy it a little bit more."
After Keane's goal, Beckham left the game to a raucous standing ovation from the packed stadium of 30,515 amid chants of "Thank you, David!"