Beckham driven to add MLS Cup title to his resume
CARSON, Calif. – The LA
Galaxy’s David Beckham will be the first to admit he had a tough week following
last Sunday’s playoff victory over the Sounders in Seattle.
The 35-year-old midfielder
had a difficult time bouncing back from playing on the artificial playing
surface at Qwest Field, where the Galaxy captured a hard-earned 1-0 victory,
and head coach Bruce Arena said it wasn’t until Friday that Beckham’s recovery
started to take a turn for the better.
Beckham said that he was
probably even in worse shape than his coach knew, but that did not stop him
from putting in one of his best performances in a Galaxy shirt
He appeared to be in top
form from the very start of the second leg of his team’s Western Conference
Semifinals Series and contributed two brilliant assists in the Galaxy’s 2-1
victory over the Sounders. The Galaxy advanced by winning the series 3-1 on
aggregate and will host FC Dallas next Sunday at The Home Depot Center for the
Western Conference Championship and the right to play in MLS Cup, which is
scheduled for Nov. 21 at BMO Field in Toronto.
Beckham helped give the
Galaxy a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute on a corner kick that Edson Buddle headed
into the net past Seattle
goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Beckham’s second assist was a thing of beauty, this
time finding Omar Gonzalez with a perfectly-placed free kick for an impressive
header and goal in the 27th minute.
Beckham also came close to
scoring on a free kick in the 44th minute, but his 30-yard effort missed the
corner of the Seattle net by no more than a yard
with Kasey Keller beaten in the Seattle
“He was terrific,” Arena
said about Beckham. “The second one, in particular, the one that Omar scored
on, was a great goal.
“His reputation on set
pieces is well-known, well-respected and well-earned. Tonight it was the difference
in the game.”
Beckham, who resumed playing
with the Galaxy on Sept. 11 after suffering a torn Achilles tendon while on
loan to AC Milan in mid-March, downplayed his prowess on set pieces and gave
credit to his teammates for making them count Sunday.
“Obviously it’s what I’ve
done for many years,” he said. “Obviously it’s important for me to have players
to put the ball on the top of their heads or on their feet. I know that if I
put the ball in the right area, we’ve got brave enough players and good enough
players to score goals.
“It worked tonight. Some
other games it didn’t work. Tonight it worked.”
Galaxy teammate Mike Magee
said he could not think of anyone better in those situations.
“No, not in the world, maybe
not ever,” Magee said. “Every time he gets the ball you know you’ve got to try
to get open, no matter how tired you are. When he has a set piece he’s lethal,
as he proved tonight and as he’s proved in World Cups, Champions Leagues, on
the grandest stage.
“It’s no different here.”
Magee said the team appears
to be feeding off Beckham’s energy.
“One hundred percent,” Magee
said. “When you see a guy with the things he’s done in his career, the
accolades, the trophies he’s won to still be putting forth as much effort and
be battling as hard as he is in a game like this, why can’t I?
“Everyone else has to follow
Beckham, who played in only
seven regular season games and admitted he’s still feeling more than his share
of his aches and pains as he builds up match fitness, said his drive is the
same as always despite the limited playing time this season.
“I’m always driven to be
successful,” he said. “I’m always driven to win. Obviously having the injury
was a disappointment for myself, but my drive has never been an issue. I’ve
always wanted success.
“I’m 35 years old now, and I
still want it as much as I did when I was 18, 19 years old.”
The Galaxy face FC Dallas in the
Western Conference Championship on Sunday, November 14 at 6 p.m. at The
Depot Center. Tickets are available as low as