As soon as the free kick was called, I knew it was going to happen.
There he was 27 minutes into the first half, David Beckham, in his first start with the Galaxy and wearing the captain armband, in perfect position to do what he does best. It was almost like he HAD to score in order to prove that all the hype of him coming to America was justified.
The whistle blew…he stepped into it…launched it over the DC United defensive wall…top corner.
It was a trademark Beckham goal and I couldn’t feel more happy for him. With everyone on his back about his injured ankle and his limited playing time, he showed everyone, with one masterful kick, that this “has-been” still had a a lot of game left in him.
Tonight, the LA Galaxy played their best game of the season–and by leaps and bounds. They dominated DC United 2-0 in front of their home crowd and are now through to the Super Liga finals.
It’s just amazing how Becks lifts the play of everyone around him. Their defense was tighter, their possession was longer and, most importantly, the Galaxy players looked like they were actually enjoying themselves. You got the feeling that just by seeing David in the starting lineup, the team knew they couldn’t lose.
The second goal in the 47th minute was also a result of some Beckham magic. Former Galaxy captain Landon Donovan (thought I’m not sure if David is the permanent skipper) ran in front of a perfectly finessed Becks pass that allowed L.D. enough space to scamper in on a breakaway. If there was anyone that seems to really appreciate number 23’s presence, it’s Landon. He seemed to have a smile on his face all night long.
And if it wasn’t for an amazing, diving save in the second half by DC goaltender Troy Perkins, Becks would have had himself another free kick tally.
So, the million dollar question (literally) is what about the ankle? Becks did take a few knocks in his 63 minutes tonight, especially one in the beginning of the first half that appeared to hurt him, but he ran well and, obviously, had no problem striking the ball.
For now (fingers crossed) it looks like he’ll be in the starting lineup Saturday night, in front of 50 thousand people at Giant Stadium for his big NY debut against the Red Bulls.
UPDATE: The goal:
P.S. I call for an all out ban of any “Bend it Like Beckham” references when referring to Beckham scoring on free kicks. Please, US soccer commentators, can’t we be a tad more original??