Globetrotting Beckham can''t lift Galaxy

Friday, 24th of August, 2007 06:33:45 PM
Los Angeles - David Beckham lived up to his jet-setting reputation, literally, but his trans-Atlantic trek ultimately proved futile in footballing terms.

After playing 90 minutes in England's 2-1 friendly loss to Germany at Wembley on Wednesday, the former England captain arrived in Los Angeles with just hours to spare and was put in the starting lineup in the Galaxy's Major League Soccer SuperClasico Los Angeles derby with Chivas USA.

Chivas, who share the Galaxy's Home Depot Centre ground, won 3-0, thanks to two goals from Cuban striker Maykel Galindo and another from Mexican midfielder Francisco Mendoza

"It wasn't our intention to play him at all, but he came in today and said that he was okay," said Galaxy manager Frank Yallop.

"Given our position in the league, we need points. Even when we were down 2-0 it would only have taken a single bit of magic from David to get us back into the game."

Beckham couldn't summon that magic however, and by the end of the match was visibly tired, walking slowly and with a slight limp that was even more pronounced in the post-game locker room.

It was hardly surprising.

The player had just completed a return trip and will face the same arduous journey again in September when he will be needed back in London for England's crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia.

"His presence is very important to the team," said veteran defender Abel Xavier. "Whether he plays 20 minutes or 90 minutes, it doesn't matter."

But the travel had taken a toll, and after experiencing some dizziness in the first half, Beckham took advantage of breaks in play to run to the touchline to swig water and sports drinks.

Nevertheless, he returned for the start of the second half, to the delight of the sell-out crowd at the 27 000-seat stadium.

"He's a trouper," said Yallop. "He did the exact same thing in New York - he didn't want to come off."

A minute before halftime, a brief brawl broke out after Chivas central defender Jesse Marsch caught Beckham with a waist high tackle, and the Galaxy captain - whose entrance into the MLS has been hampered by an ankle injury - angrily confronted him.

As players from both teams rushed in, Galaxy midfielder Kevin Harmes threw a punch and was head-butted by Chivas defender Alex Zotinca. Both players were red carded by referee Terry Vaughn, and Marsch received a yellow card.

"He had kind of gotten a piece of me quite before that," Marsch said of Beckham. "So it was somewhat a retaliation, somewhat a tactical foul because he was on a break. I said it was harder than I would have liked it to have been, and I apologised to him. I told him I respect what he's about. He was kind of done with me though."

Marsch said he didn't see much of the ensuing fracas, but he didn't think it had anything to do with multi-millionaire Beckham's reputation, just as his original tackle hadn't.

"It was two teams standing up for guys on their team," he said. "I think every one respects him over there, and I hope guys respect what I'm all about here. I appreciate all my teammates sticking together and that's what a team's about."

After Galindo opened the scoring in the 58th, Beckham was joined on the pitch by Landon Donovan, also returning from a Wednesday match in Europe - the USA's 1-0 loss in Sweden.

Still the Galaxy could make no headway, and Galindo scored a second goal in the 69th before Mendoza made it 3-0 with two minutes left.

Chivas chose to rest their returning international, Jonathan Bornstein, who played with Donovan in Sweden on Wednesday and was on the bench Thursday.

"I told him before the game he was not playing," said Chivas manager Preki. "Unless something incredible happens that we have to use him for 15 minutes. But I didn't feel he could play under those conditions."