PHILADELPHIA – By now, David Beckham’s hectic schedule shouldn’t surprise anyone.
That doesn’t make the 74-minute shift he put in during Wednesday’s AT&T MLS All-Star game any less impressive, though. Beckham didn’t train with his teammates prior to the match. He flew in from London, where he is part of the preparations for Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony, less than 24 hours before kick off and hightailed it back across the Atlantic following the All-Stars' 3-2 win against Chelsea.
Even Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan, who is plenty familiar with Beckham’s jet-setting lifestyle, was left incredulous by the Englishman’s performance in light of his travel load.
WATCH: Beckham on All-Star performance
“He’s crazy. The guy’s crazy,” Donovan said after MLS’ annual summer showcase. “I don’t know what he’s made of, but I wish I was made of whatever he’s made of. He does it and he does it with a smile—and he plays hard and plays well, and he’ll go back to London now and he’ll be great doing whatever he does there.”
There was initially a question as to whether Beckham would make it to Philadelphia to participate in the festivities, but word came down on Monday that he would be available for selection by coach Ben Olsen.
For his part, Beckham said afterward that he was disappointed not to join his teammates for the week, but felt it was necessary to get back for the match after being voted in by the fans.
“It’s important to be part of the All-Star team. I’m very honored to be part of this,” he told MLSsoccer.com in an on-field interview following the win. “It’s been an amazing time for us this season so far. To be a part and to be picked here, [it’s] important to play for me.”
Beckham’s presence was clearly important to the fans in attendance at PPL Park and he didn’t disappoint, running the show from deep in the midfield and spraying passes all over the field in typical fashion.
HIGHLIGHTS: All-Stars top Chelsea at the death
His diagonal ball behind the Chelsea backline to a streaking Dwayne De Rosario set up the All-Stars’ second goal from Chris Pontius in the 73nd minute, tying the game and setting the stage for Eddie Johnson’s dramatic winner in stoppage time.
Olsen removed Beckham a minute later with the crowd paying their respects to the midfielder while also welcoming local boy Michael Farfan into his first All-Star game. Afterward Olsen joined Donovan in praising the global icon for a performance made even more impressive by the trans-Atlantic travel required.
“I tell you what, he’s a pretty impressive guy. I don’t know how much you know about his schedule,” Olsen said. “I won't tell you about it, but it was as lot and he came out here. And he’s such a competitor. He wants to be in every game.
“I think he was upset he was taken off. He was limping a little bit and I didn’t want it to continue. The way he controls the game it would be nice to have him penciled in into my team on Saturday.”