The team with the best record in Major League Soccer's (MLS) Western
Conference, the Los Angeles Galaxy, was in the nation's capital Sunday
to take on the hottest team in the league, DC United. A season high
36,000 fans were at RFK Stadium to see how English star David Beckham
and his Galaxy teammates would fare. Chris Cox has a report.
It was a big win for the home team, as DC United won its fourth straight match, topping the LA Galaxy in a hot and humid midday game, 4-1.
Beckham was outplayed by United's Brazilian forward Luciano Emilio. Emilio, the reigning MLS Most Valuable Player (MVP), scored two goals and had one assist in the win. The two goals give Emilio 10 on the season, one behind league-leader Landon Donovan of the Galaxy.
United Head Coach Tom Soehn was pleased with the way his exciting forward played.
"You know, he's very opportunistic at this point," said Tom Soehn. "He created a lot of chances. He could've had a few today, he had a couple, but again it goes as the team goes. If we're doing well as a team, he's going to benefit from it."
Donovan's only highlight of the game was one that he would like to forget. He was hit in the nose with a forearm from United player Marcelo Gallardo, who later scored to give the United a 3-1 lead. Each player was assessed a yellow card after the play. That play brought an emotional reaction from Galaxy Head Coach Ruud Gullit.
"He [Gallardo] scored the third goal," said Ruud Gullit. "He's supposed to be off the field, off the pitch [with a red card]. You know there was blood coming out of his [Donovan's] nose. Gallardo excuses [apologized] also to me because he knew he was lucky to stay on the pitch. I blame also a little bit the fourth official because it's ridiculous, it was just in front of him. If he has no authority what's the point of having him there.
Beckham got a mixed reaction from the Washington fans but says he's used to it.
"I've had a lot worse, but you know that's part of the game," said David Beckham. "It's part of the atmosphere, part of soccer. You know, it's the same all around the world. When you play away from home the fans are less friendly all the time, that's the way it is. You know you accept that and you get on with it. If you win the game you enjoy it."
Beckham did admit his Galaxy club was outplayed by DC United. After an injury-plagued 2007 season, the popular star said he realizes his impact on the game and how playing a full season will help MLS.
"I've played more minutes this year compared to last year," he said. "You know, it's great that the people and the fans turn out, because it's great for the game, it's great for the MLS, and it's good to play in that kind of atmosphere. So, yeah, it was nice to obviously see the amount of fans that turned out today, but I wish the result had been better for us."
There was emotional moment for D.C. United fans as their favorite and locker room leader Ben Olsen took the field in the 75th minute. Playing his first match of the season after recovering from an ankle injury, Olsen took the field to a standing ovation and Coach Soehn said his return is a good sign.
"Well he trained the whole week, and it's important to get Benny back in the mix, he's been out since November," he said. "Everybody knows how valuable he is to us. We just to keep bringing him along slowly and surely."
Next up for David Beckam and the LA Galaxy will be a home game on the Fourth of July, as they will take on the first place team in the Eastern Conference - the New England Revolution.