CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham may not have been his normally sharp self on his set pieces, but he did provide a valuable punch as the LA Galaxy counterattack overwhelmed Seattle Sounders FC to a 3-0 victory in the Western Conference Championship First Leg on Sunday.
Throughout his 90 minute performance, Beckham went toe-to-toe with Seattle’s midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans, in what proved to be a cagey match early on. Beckham was at his best in the 64th minute as he started a counter by playing a ball forward to Robbie Keane. The Irishman then launched the ball wide right to Sean Franklin, whose cross found Mike Magee, who easily beat Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning for LA’s second goal.
Beckham still has one caution heading into the second leg, but the midfielder can only be suspended for the MLS Cup Final if he is given a red card at CenturyLink Field.
Below Beckham discusses the start to the series, injuries and other topics….
BECKHAM: “I think we set the standards before the game that we needed to achieve. We started the game OK, I think we came into the game later into the first half. It’s always great to get a goal just before halftime, and it’s always hard conceding a goal at halftime. They’re a very good team, so we knew that they was going to create chances, we just needed to be strong on defense. Josh was great again tonight. We always create chances, it was great that we put them away. But this is far from over, Seattle’s always been a tough place to go and win games and play at, their fans will be right behind them. But we have obviously put ourselves in good position, but we know that it’s far from over.”
(On whether Seattle opened up in the second half…)
BECKHAM: "I think that always happens when you’re chasing the game and when you’re down a goal or two, the game opens up. The other team has to take a few more chances, and luckily for us it opened up. We could have had one or two more than we actually got, but we’d have taken 3-0 at the start of the game.”
(On if he has an eye on the Eastern conference series…)
BECKHAM: “I’ve got a little bit of an eye on that side of things, but we need to concentrate on what we’re doing. That’s the important part, and then everything can fall into place hopefully.”
(On how LA could host the final if Houston wins…)
BECKHAM: “We’re not even thinking about that yet. We may have put ourselves in a great position tonight, but last time we played in Seattle we got beat 4-0, well second to last time we played there, so we know that they can score goals there, we know they’re dangerous there, we just have to do our job.”
(On the Galaxy’s play in the last two games…)
BECKHAM: “I think our movement has changed. Before the San Jose game away, our movement and our fitness maybe wasn’t as good, but I think we’ve picked it up. We’ve realized that if we want to go all the way in this competition we have to pick it up. The standards had to be higher, and I think that we’ve brought our standards higher, and we need to keep them there.”
(On what ways the team’s movement changed...)
BECKHAM: “I just think everyone. When you play quite a few games in a short space of time, you become a little bit stale and a little bit tired and I think that we had that in the first game against San Jose. We’d come off a tough game against Vancouver, scraped through in that one, and then coming up against a San Jose team that was very strong. But I think we recovered a lot better than them. I said it the day after the game, we recovered a lot better than we did for the first San Jose game. So leading into the second one, we were ready, and we were ready to play. Our confidence was up and it showed it in the game, and it showed in this game as well.”
(On whether Bernárdez’s goal in first SJ game was a wakeup call...)
BECKHAM: “Maybe. Maybe just the loss, not just the goal. The loss at home and the realization that we had to go there and win. Sometimes that can help a team. I think that probably did help us. We needed a kick up the backside and probably that was it.”
(On the injuries being worrisome…)
BECKHAM: “No, I think we’ve got a great medical staff here, so they’ll do everything possible to get everyone of the players and any knocks that we’ve got, ready. But we’ve had that most of the season, and we’ve had players that have stepped in. Edson played a great game in San Jose, for 60 minutes, and then obviously came off and missed tonight but hopefully he’ll be ready for next week. If he’s not, then we’ve got players that will step in and do the job. But we can’t worry about injuries too much, at this stage of the season, players are going to pick up niggles, players are going to pick up injuries, it’s just about coming together as a squad. We did it last year, and we saw what happened last year. So we need to do it again.”