The Hollywood ending came to pass for David Beckham, who took his leave of Los Angeles and football in North America with a scene-stealing performance in the MLS Cup final. The LA Galaxy defeated Houston 1-0 with a goal from Landon Donovan but it was the Englishman who left the most lasting impression.
In the biggest game of the major league soccer season, in what was almost certainly his last competitive appearance in the white of Galaxy before de-camping back to Europe, Beckham was involved in the goal, finding Robbie Keane in the 71st minute - an exchange that ultimately led to Donovan's strike.
There had been some questions about Beckham's fitness after he missed a couple of training sessions earlier in the week although, given the Englishman's history of playing through injury, not to mention his enduring sense of theatre, there was little surprise when he was named in the Galaxy team for what was expected to be his final competitive game in major league soccer.
These days Beckham plays a deep-lying role in front of the defence, leaving the spade work in midfield to his younger team-mate Juninho. It's a position that doesn't require a great deal of pace and mobility but even so it was immediately apparent he was having problems, barely able to extend himself beyond a jog.
Yet there are some things a dodgy hamstring cannot diminish and as the Galaxy sought to break down a well-organised Houston team it was Beckham's ability to pick out a pass that illuminated an otherwise grey performance. On a couple of occasions in the first-half he whipped in powerful crosses that found the head of Adam Cristman, who should have scored but did not.
At the other end, Houston presence was virtually non-existent, their players more concerned with containment than with anything remotely ambitious. The initiative ceded by opposition, it then became a question of how long it would take for the Galaxy to turn this territorial advantage into something more tangible.
In the 57th minute, Beckham and Keane combined only for the Irishman's goal to be controversially denied by a linesman's flag.
The visitors briefly roused but there was no way back. The only remaining question was whether or not Beckham would score a goal of his own. He came close in the 90 minute but his shot from 30-yards was saved by Hall. The Englishman was denied the ultimate reward but as he embraced his team-mates on the final whistle he didn't look in the mood to complain.