Recap: LA vs Columbus
CARSON, Calif. – The Los Angeles Galaxy regained sole possession of the top spot in MLS by defeating Eastern Conference leading Columbus Crew 3-1 in the anticipated 2010 debut of David Beckham at The Home Depot Center on Saturday.
The Galaxy scored two first-half goals and added a third before Beckham came on for the final 20 minutes of the match. Peruvian international Andres Mendoza scored late for the Crew but it was too little too late for the visitors.
In the 13th minute, the Galaxy succeeded in turning around a negative trend. In their last three home games, the Galaxy had given up five first-half goals – all in the opening 20 minutes. This time, it was the Galaxy’s turn to score first. Sean Franklin whipped a ball from near the right touchline to the far post, where an unmarked Edson Buddle scored his league-leading 14th goal from the top of the six-yard box.
The goal gave the Galaxy a jolt of confidence as LA entered the match with a 13-0-0 record in league play when scoring first and an 8-0-1 record when Buddle found the back of the net.
Columbus could not stop the Galaxy as the hosts continued to pressure. So energetic was their play that the Galaxy got a goal from an unlikely source in the 35th minute. Landon Donovan and Jovan Kirovski passed the ball quickly between them, then sent Dema Kovalenko forward. He found a seam in Columbus’ defense, walked in alone on Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer and slipped the ball into the back of the net.
Kirovski got on the scoreboard 10 minutes into the second half. LA midfielder Alex Cazumba lifted a free kick from some 40 yards out towards the far post. Kirovski met the service with a header towards the right post and into the back of the net.
The only suspense left in the match was whether Beckham would play or not. Beckham had said Thursday he would have liked to have played some role in the match and felt he could play 10-20 minutes, and he earned the high end of that prediction.
In the 70th minute, Beckham replaced Juninho to a loud ovation for his first action nearly six months after tearing his Achilles tendon. He showed some rust as he picked up a quick yellow card for knocking down the Crew's Emmanuel Ekpo just a few minutes into his return.
LA -- Edson Buddle 14 (Sean Franklin 5, Landon Donovan 13) 13
LA -- Dema Kovalenko 1 (Landon Donovan 14, Jovan Kirovski 2) 35
LA -- Jovan Kirovski 4 (Alex Cazumba 1) 55
CLB -- Andres Mendoza 1 (Andy Iro 1) 85
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk, Andy Iro, Chad Marshall, Shaun Francis, Dilly Duka (Emmanuel Ekpo 68), Brian Carroll, Adam Moffat, Eddie Gaven, Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Emilio Renteria 63), Steven Lenhart (Andres Mendoza 63).
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Donovan Ricketts, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Leonardo, Todd Dunivant, Landon Donovan, Juninho (David Beckham 70), Dema Kovalenko, Alex Cazumba, Edson Buddle (Chris Birchall 46), Jovan Kirovski (Mike Magee 60).
LA -- Mike Magee (caution; Reckless Foul) 72
LA -- David Beckham (caution; Reckless Foul) 74
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, George Gansner
4th Official: Kevin Stott
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy and 64 degrees