David Beckham, Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan, Dom Kinnear and Brad Davis reflect on LA Galaxy's MLS Cup victory over Houston Dynamo
AUDIO FROM POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE:
On the turnaround in July:
"When the season ended last year, we had an endless tour of obligations and we couldn't put this 2011 season behind us. And I think as I look back on it it finally came to closure when we went to the White House in May. And I just said, let's F... put, I need to watch my language here, put this past us, and now we need to focus on getting things right. And the guys responded well, but oddly enough in June we still had a horrible run, but you could see things were getting better. And there was an important game, and I think a lot of guys mentioned this, but when we won in Salt Lake (coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2), which was just a character test."
On Robbie Keane:
"Robbie and I, I think we grew up together in Brooklyn. We have the same kind of mentality. He is one tough bastard, skillful, competitive personality. A great friend of players; a great team mate."
On the national team prospects of Omar Gonzalez:
"Omar belongs in the national team pool. When he gets his opportunity he has to show and get on the field - I'm confident that Omar's a player that can play internationally for the United States."
On David Beckham:
"Wow. Incredible. I was thrilled many years ago watching him at Man U and then witnessing his moves, I can't imagine that there'll be another player like David in terms of what he's accomplished first on the field - winning championships in every country. Twenty years from now we're going to look at this league and still talk about David Beckham as the one that helped turn us. And he's had a phenomenal contribution on and off the field, and for him to walk off the field today with another trophy was amazing. Many would think it was the last chapter.I think David thinks that there's another chapter, and if there is it's probably going to be another great chapter."
On being subbed off in the final minute:
"I think today was always going to be an emotional day for myself, win or lose...Being here for six years, being part of this team. Being part of a team that's kept the majority of our players over the last six years, it was always going to be an emotional day. So yeah, coming off was...tough, but I enjoyed the win."
On Omar Gonzalez:
"Omar is not just a special player, he's a special person as well. He works hard and he listens. He's a young player with a lot of talent, that I hope at some point is going to play for the US national team more regularly, because he deserves it. He's been dancing around in there naked, so he definitely deserves it after that! He deserved the MVP today and we're very lucky to have a young player with his talent in this team."
On his feelings for America:
"They couldn't be any warmer, my feelings to (sic) this country. On my boots I have the English flag and the American flag. I was lucky that somebody handed me a Union Jack today and then somebody handed me the Stars and Stripes. It's meant a lot me the way people have treated me since I moved here. People have been very kind to myself and my family, and welcoming, and that I will never forget. I might be English, but I'm very proud to have been part of this amazing country - and continue to be part of this amazing country. I've said I'm committed to this game in this country."
On Donovan stepping up to take the winning penalty:
"It took some balls for him to step up and take that penalty, because I saw what he was like after that chance (the one Donovan sent wide early in the first half)."
On the rumor that the Galaxy are lining up Kaka to replace him:
"I think most clubs would like Kaka to come into their team. I know Ricardo from playing over the years against him, for England, but I've spent a lot of time with him when I was at AC Milan. He's a great talent, a great person, he's a hard worker - he's one of the most professional players that I've ever come up against and played with. So of course if there was any slight chance of bringing him to the Galaxy, then I'm sure the owners would do anything possible. He's still a Real Madrid player, I think he's got two more years left at Real Madrid, so it's obviously disrespectful to speak about him coming here when he's still in contract, but of course if there was any chance of getting Ricardo here, you'd do anything."
On MLS press officer correcting his introduction, to emphasize the player was a forward rather than a midfielder:
"Not after that first chance..."
On missing that easy chance in the first half:
"A lot went through my mind to be honest. When you're in a moment like that you feel like you let the team down...Candidly, it sat with me till half time, and I took a few minutes at half time and collected myself, and tried to say present, because you can't change it. And then when the penalty came, I'm not going to fool anyone and say I was calm about it, because I was pretty nervous, but you have to keep going."
On winning back to back championships:
"It's a little surreal to be honest. I think in any sport, to repeat is really hard to do. The playoff run was great, but what got us here was the turnaround in July and we have to give ourselves a lot of credit for how we did it when we were down. And that's the sign of a champion and we showed it again today, too."
"This year, personally felt more satisfying. Last year there was a heavy expectation with the uncertainty about David's future, and we hadn't won a championship. From the beginning MLS Cup was in LA so there was a lot of pressure to get there. This year we could enjoy it a little bit more. To finish where we were and then unexpectedly move through the playoffs that way, was a little more satisfying I think."
On what changed with the team in July:
"I think because we won last year there was a little bit of a hangover... I was gone for a couple of weeks, but I got a few phone calls from players and coaches saying that something had changed - and the overwhelming comment was that David's demeanour was influencing everybody and he decided at that point that he was going to take control. I think Robbie got back from the Euros and had the same mentality. Bruce and the coaches and I sat down and they wanted to make sure I knew what was going on, because I think they'd been training for a couple of weeks with a much better attitude and I think we all bought into it and got our reward today."
On whether he'll take a break now:
"It's just been a long two years. For all of us. It's not a woe is me story. I have to listen to my heart and my gut and right now my gut says to get away for a while. I had a really nice moment where...my sister just had a baby and she got to come down on the field, and he was sleeping on her and it sort of puts it all in perspective and makes me realize that I want to be close to my family for a while, and we can figure out the soccer part later."
"I think this year's different than last year. To be honest I don't know whether I want to cry or throw up - one of the two. We played well. Last year you could put your hand up and say we didn't really get going. We played well today and gave ourself the chance to win the game..."
On Gonzalez' equalizer changing the momentum of the game:
"The first goal changed momentum for sure, Calen had a good chance two minutes, three minute before that. I'll give Gonzalez credit, his timing today was excellent. Defensively and attacking wise he was very good in the air. That changed momentum, it was a bit back and forth and there was chances both ways, so this game could have gone either way. I haven't seen the replay of either penalty so I can't comment on those, but we didn't back down - it's not like they were all over us."
On the Houston fans and the game being held at the Galaxy:
"I think America's so big that sometimes when you have two teams playing in a neutral city, it may just be too far to pack the house. So this idea of having the game at home of the team who's the higher seed, I think you're probably guaranteed a sellout which is what you want. It's a great exclamation point for the most important game of the season, and it looks great on television. When people ask questions about the playoff system and how it doesn't seem very fair for the 8th and 9th team to be in the final, noone says that about the NFl when the wild card team gets in. It's American sports and I love it."
On whether this defeat was tougher to take than last year's loss:
"To say it's more difficult than last year? I dunno - it's not a good feeling no matter when it is..."
On Omar Gonzalez's MVP performance:
"Omar's a good player. He's a big defensive body and great in the air and we knew that coming in and as Dom said tonight, he was on his game. He played a very good game, and when a player like that is on his game he's tough to beat. So credit to him, he made a great play on the goal he scored - it was a tough header and he took it well."