By Jahmal Corner
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - David Beckham helped lead the LA Galaxy to a coveted MLS Cup victory on Sunday with a performance that validated the former England skipper's decision to abandon Europe for a life in Los Angeles.
After the final whistles sounded in the 1-0 championship victory over the Houston Dynamo, Beckham's lucrative five-year contract with the Galaxy came to a successful end and buried the demons of the 36-year-old midfielder's previous MLS failures.
"It's been an amazing five years and this just topped it off tonight," Beckham told reporters. "This was a special year and I'm so happy to have been a part of this."
Beckham was indeed a big part of the win despite battling a hamstring injury, able to spark the game's only goal and show the kind of commitment to his team that many have questioned from the day he arrived in 2007.
The Briton has been criticized for opting to take loan moves to AC Milan in Italy during the off-season, as well as his failure to deliver on the promise of championships and to raise the profile of soccer in the United States.
However, such talk was muted as a grinning Beckham celebrated the MLS crown in front of an adoring Galaxy crowd at the Home Depot Center.
"It's always nice to have doubters along the way, and it's nice to prove them wrong," Beckham said.
Beckham, who came back from an Achilles tendon injury suffered last season, was clearly laboring at the end of match but mustered enough energy to give his team a championship effort.
"I've been around great athletes in different sports and this guy is as good as they come," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said.
"He's done it all in every country he's been in. What more can you ask for?"
(Editing by John O'Brien)