CARSON, Calif. — At the end of the LA Galaxy’s match against Columbus on July 20, the Galaxy were awarded a free kick.
Match official Andrew Chapin sprayed a line 10 yards away from where David Beckham stood over the ball. Columbus’ Emmanuel Ekpo straddled the freshly sprayed line. Beckham and Mike Magee protested. Chapin blew his whistle, but the two Galaxy players pointed at Ekpo. Chapin blew his whistle again, walked over to Beckham and showed him a yellow card in the second minute of the allotted two minutes of stoppage time.
The card means Beckham will miss Saturday’s match against Vancouver, and also drew the Galaxy’s ire.
“Unfortunately, that means I’ll miss the next game,” Beckham said after the match. “It’s just another bad call from the referee. ... It’s frustrating because I don’t want to miss games.”
Beckham has picked up eight yellow cards this season. After his fifth card, he sat out a match — against Chicago on April 17 — and now sits out this match after three more cards. Should he pick up three more, he would sit out another one. Beyond that, he would sit out a match after two yellow cards. After Saturday’s match against Vancouver, the Galaxy have 11 regular-season games left, perhaps lessening the chances for Beckham to pick up more cautions.
However, this latest card, Beckham said, was unwarranted. With the match dwindling and only 30 seconds of stoppage time left, the Galaxy’s free kick may have been an opportunity to stall and take some time off the clock. But Ekpo was not behind the line and, despite protests from the LA players, was not moving behind it.
Beckham said he expected Chapin to move Ekpo behind in order to allow for the free kick.
“When he sprays the lines, you expect 10 yards,” he said. “Their guy was two yards across the line. I’m waiting for the referee to move him back; he decides to give me a card.”
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said the situation was not dealt with properly.
“Poor judgement on how to handle a game on the end,” he said. “If you are going to mark the field, you have to honor what you’re marking. Absolutely no point in doing that.”
There were potentially other ways to deal with the situation instead of blowing the whistle to start play.
“It makes zero sense. Best way to manage that game is say, ‘Here’s the mark. Step off.’ Or if you have to, add five seconds to the game,” Arena said. “It absolutely makes no sense at all.”