CARSON, Calif. – Although David Beckham’s minutes may have been limited in his first two MLS league matches since returning from a torn Achilles injury, the Galaxy midfielder is still an option to start the match against the Red Bulls on Friday.
Los Angeles manager Bruce Arena left open that possibility when speaking to MLSsoccer.com after his team’s practice on Thursday.
“I haven’t made the decision,” Arena said about starting Beckham. “We’ll see how he feels [Friday] after [Thursday’s] training session.”
The English star participated in full training on Thursday with the rest of his Galaxy teammates.
Red Bulls manager Hans Backe is already counting on Beckham’s inclusion in LA’s starting XI. The Swede concludes that after logging 40 minutes for LA against D.C. United last Saturday, the customary next step for Beckham would be to advance to a 60-minute appearance on Friday.
Along with the likes of Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle, Beckham would be yet another World Cup veteran the Red Bulls will have to worry about.
“If he’s playing wide right, he drops a little bit — and if you give him too much time and space, he’ll be the player to feed his teammates with killer passes,” Backe said. “In open play, you have to close him down.”
Beckham had been sidelined since March after tearing his left Achilles tendon in a match with Italian club AC Milan, where he played on loan during the MLS offseason.
He made his first appearance of the MLS campaign on Sept. 11, coming off the bench for 20 minutes against the Columbus Crew. He followed that up with 37 minutes as a substitute against D.C. United last Saturday. Both games resulted in Galaxy wins.
If Backe’s logic regarding Beckham’s minutes holds correct, the midfielder should start Friday.
“Every week he’s getting better,” Arena said. “You can see his stride is coming back, and his touch is there.
“The goal for David is to have him back for playoff time, and by the end of the year get him starting some games.”
The first of those may come as early as Friday.