Landon Donovan says Los Angeles Galaxy's turnaround this season is down to teammate David Beckham. The pair traded barbs in the media at the start of the season, but now are close as they prepare to face Houston Dynamo in the Western Conference final.
How has the Galaxy, which failed to reach the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, turned it around in 2009? Was it Coach Bruce Arena's extensive housecleaning or was it Beckham's suddenly revamped play in his third season with the Galaxy?
"It was probably a mixture," Beckham said. "I've been happy with my performances and been happy with the team's performances, but also having Bruce and his knowledge of this league and this country, it all helped us."
Donovan, the Galaxy's leading scorer, said another reason for the team's revival was unequivocal.
"To be honest, the person who's made it work is David," Donovan told the LA Times. "You guys [the media] see that his attitude and the way he's been playing is the David we know, but off the field he's also been great. He's done a lot of things throughout the year to show that he wants to be here. He took the guys to dinner a couple of weeks ago to celebrate making the playoffs. He's just been fantastic."