Robbie Keane seals L.A. Galaxy and Houston Dynamo rematch in MLS Cup final

Robbie Keane, wearing the captain’s armband in Landon Donovan’s absence, converted a ballsy penalty and celebrated with statuesque defiance to keep the L.A. Galaxy out of Seattle’s reach and get his side to a second consecutive MLS Cup final against Houston. But he might still retain “unidentified fan” status as referee Mark Geiger becomes the most hated man in Seattle.

L.A. went into the second leg with a comfy 3-0 lead, but Seattle’s Eddie Johnson was on a mission to destroy that advantage from the start. It appeared he got an early start towards reaching that goal just minutes into the second leg, but he was ruled offside even though replays showed that wasn’t the case. Johnson kept his focus though and did get a goal in the 12th minute to make it 3-1 on aggregate.

Seattle would score again in the 57th minute with a great header from Zach Scott, making L.A. nervous and  giving the home side a legitimate shot at an improbable comeback. But in the 67th minute, Geiger made up for ignoring L.A.’s handball shout just before halftime and awarded one caused by Keane, who got Seattle keeper Michael Gspurning to dive away from his stuttering penalty for his fifth goal of the playoffs. With the defending champions’ lead back at a padded 4-2, they held on to win and prompted a shower of boos to mix with the rain as they quickly accepted the Western Conference trophy.

Meanwhile, Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson went for Geiger after the final whistle, prompting the ref to show Alonso his second yellow card and a red to round out the local sentiment on the night.

So for the second straight year, it will be the AEG-owned L.A. Galaxy against AEG-owned Houston Dynamo playing an MLS Cup final in Carson, California. And if that match goes the way the rest of the playoffs have, they might as well rename it the Robbie Keane Cup right now. Maybe then he’ll get the recognition he deserves.

Dirty Tackle – World Soccer – Yahoo! Sports

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