David Beckham And The LA Galaxy Close In On The Championship – And Herbalife Are With Them Every Step Of The Way!
Success For The Galaxy!
High-flying LA Galaxy are experiencing one of the most successful periods in their history, and it all coincides with their lucrative 5-year sponsorship deal with health and wellness company Herbalife. Coincidence? This article charts the LA Galaxy’s successful 2010 season, and looks at the role that Herbalife are playing in the team’s success.
In 2009 the Galaxy won the Western Conference Championship, but fell short in the post-season play-off final, losing out to Real Salt Lake in a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out. (A soccer match is decided by penalty kicks if the match ends in a tie after the regulation 90 minutes and a set-period of overtime) This year, they were aiming to go one better. Having topped the Western Conference, they met FC Dallas in October, in their final regular season game of the year. A tie would be enough to see them into the play-offs as Supporters’ Shield Champions.
LA Galaxy Defeat FC Dallas
The LA Galaxy didn’t disappoint their fans, and they qualified for the MLS Play-offs with a 2-1 victory over FC Dallas in the final match of the regular season, leaving them top of the Western Conference and champions of the Supporters’ Shield – awarded to the team with the most points at the end of the regular season. Although they went in to the match requiring only the one point that they would gain from a tie, the Galaxy took all 3 points with a spirited comeback win.
Strength And Stamina In Abundance
Dallas started strongly and took the lead in the 22nd minute when poor defending allowed Atiba Harris to score with his head from the 6. But Galaxy are known for their resilience, strength and hard-work, and only 10 minutes had elapsed since the opening goal when superstar David Beckham drilled a low shot into the corner of the goal from the 18 after being set up by talisman Landan Donovan. And the Galaxy’s superior fitness showed in the end when Brazilian midfielder Juninho pounced on defensive uncertainty to fire a magnificent volley under the Dallas goalkeeper and into the net. Galaxy’s stamina continued to show as they finished the game the strongest, and could have extended their lead but for a brilliant reflex-save by Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala. Coach Bruce Arena paid tribute to Galaxy’s work-ethic after the game. ‘We were forced to play hard and fight and scrap for everything we could get’, he said.
This meant Galaxy had won the Western Conference regular season for the second year in a row, and qualified for the MLS play-offs, where they met Seattle Sounders in a two-leg contest. A two-leg contest means the teams play each other twice – once at their home stadium and once at the other team’s home stadium – and at the end of the second match the scores from both legs are added together to create an aggregate. If both games finished 2-2, for example, the aggregate score over two-legs would be 4-4, and overtime would be required to determine the winner. If one team won both legs 2-0, then the aggregate score would be 4-0 and they would progress to the final.
LA Galaxy Defeat Seattle
In the first match, LA Galaxy travelled to Seattle on Sunday 31st October, and came away with a superb 1-0 victory. The atmosphere at Seattle’s Qwest Field was electric as the importance of the occasion wasn’t lost on the 35,000 spectators in attendance. Seattle could have been in the lead as early as the first minute when the referee disallowed a goal for offside. After that early scare the Galaxy settled into the game, and David Beckham forced American goalkeeping legend Kasey Keller into a smart one-handed save in the 7th minute. In the 23rd minute striker Edson Buddle silenced the crowd with a goal of sublime quality, lobbing the ball into the net from about 30 meters out to give Galaxy a 1-0 lead.
Herbalife Player Is Star Man For Galaxy
It was a lead they held onto for the rest of the match, with Herbalife-sponsored Donovan Ricketts in the Galaxy goal pulling off a number off stunning saves to keep the Seattle strikers at bay. Galaxy now go into the second leg with a 1-goal lead, and with the advantage of playing in front of their own fans. Herbalife’s successful season appears to be continuing.
Herbalife And The LA Galaxy
Throughout all the team’s success, Herbalife have been right behind the Galaxy.
Herbalife have been the Official Presenting Sponsor of the La Galaxy since March 2007, when they signed a multi-million dollar 5-year deal with the franchise. The deal means that the Herbalife name is printed on the front of all La Galaxy shirts, and Herbalife are also the official Nutrition company for the team. In addition, nutrition expert and renowned scientist Luigi Gratton is a Nutrition Adviser to the Galaxy. This sponsorship deal has coincided with the team being crowned Western Conference Champions in 2009 and 2010, and winning the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in their history.
The deal is notable for being the first time in the history of professional American team-sports that a league has allowed one of its franchises to sell sponsorship rights in a prime position on the front of its shirts. CEO Michael O Johnson said at the time of the deal: “The national and international appeal of soccer and of the Los Angeles Galaxy club in particular, is a natural fit for our global philosophy of promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.” Having a global superstar like David Beckham in the team, as well as home-grown hero Landon Donovan – who holds the record for the number of International appearances for the USA – makes this an enormous opportunity for Herbalife not only to gain massive exposure, but also to allow their products to become associated with world class athletes and sportsmen.
As well as the team sponsorship, Herbalife also sponsors 3 individual players within the team, including USA veteran and sometime Galaxy captain Chris Klein, defender Omar Gonzalez, and highly-rated goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. Gonzalez was named 2009 Rookie Of The Year in the MLS, and is a finalist in the 2010 awards for the Defender Of The Year Award. Ricketts was Galaxy’s Defender Of The Year in 2009, and in 2010 he has been shortlisted for the MLS Goalkeeper Of The Year Award.
Another part of the deal means that the LA Galaxy players are often asked to make special guest appearances at Herbalife events. Just days after their 2-1 victory over FC Dallas, the Herbalife players dropped in on the 2010 Herbalife Extravaganza event in Los Angeles, to a hero’s welcome.
Success For Herbalife!
All Herbalife people will be keeping their fingers crossed that the Galaxy players can hold on to their lead and remain in the hunt for that elusive MLS cup title. Whatever happens, Herbalife and LA Galaxy have shared another successful year, and it seems that the two walk hand-in-hand toward success.
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