Welcome to the World of Beckham blog, we aim to keep you up to date with developments in the career of David Beckham a footballer from the UK who has played for some of the top teams in the world.

Monday, 23 November 2009

LA Galaxy 1 Real Salt Lake 1 (4-5 after penalties)

*MLS CUP FINAL 2009 - Seattle*
Beckham starts despite reports of a problem with his right ankle which seems to be a bit of a recurring theme over the last couple of years.
The first half was dominated by The Galaxy with Buddle, Donovan and Magee putting pressure on the Salt Lake goal. Beckham knocked in a dangerous corner that should have resulted in a goal. Meanwhile Ricketts in the LA goal was relatively untroubled. A sustained period of pressure resulted in a well-deserved goal for Magee on 40 minutes. Fed by Beckham from the midfield, Donovan crossed from right to left and Magee snuck the ball in at the left-hand post a great team move, and one of many in quick succession which seemed bound to result in a Galaxy goal. The goal seemed to wake Salt Lake up a little, but despite two minutes of added time, The Galaxy kept their 1-0 lead going into half-time.
In the first few minutes of the second half a loose back-pass saw Salt Lake running at the Galaxy goal seemingly bound the score, but Ricketts bravely threw himself at the strikers feet. The 50/50 collision looked bad and Ricketts looked like he may have hurt his hand, however thankfully for The Galaxy he was able to continue..
On 63 minutes, a goal-mouth scramble (a throw-back to old-style Galaxy defending) led to an equalising Salt Lake goal, the score now 1-1. The Galaxy have it all to do again and Donovan Ricketts still seems to be nursing a damaged right-hand, and has to be substituted. (later it would emerge that Ricketts had played nearly twenty minutes with a fractured right-hand)
The two teams slugged it out neither team really dominating, The Galaxy missing the flowing moves from the first half.
It was looking pretty much like it would go to extra time, but as the 90 minutes approached, 7 minutes overtime were announced. However, neither team could take advantage and the game was tied 1-1 after 90 minutes. The obligatory extra time could not prevent this game going to penalties and despite Beckham scoring in the first round, The Galaxy stalwarts Buddle and Donovan could not manage to convert allowing Salt lake to steal the day.
Real Salt Lake 5 The Galaxy 4, Salt Lake take the trophy and are crowned champions of the MLS, The Galaxy and David Beckham must wait for another year...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Brazil 1 England 0

A make-shift England side met the best side in the world in Qatar, and did not fold under the pressure. For the first half, an England side with only about three or four first choice players, held the Brazilians off and created some chances although the service to Bent up front was not good enough to seriously trouble the Cesar in the Brazilian goal. At the other end of the pitch, Ben Foster was under a little more pressure.

The second-half brought an early goal when Elano fed Nilmar a ball that cut out the defence and left him to head the ball neatly over Foster's head. Not long after the goal, Nilmar had picked up a bad chested back-pass from Wes Brown when his path was blocked by a flailing Foster. Foster was booked, but could easily have been dismissed (and surely would have been had the game not been a friendly). Bewilderingly, Luis Fabiano missed the resulting penalty and despite several other efforts on goal, the score remained 1-0 to the end.

Although not the score-line Capello would have wanted, nonetheless a fairly positive result considering the England players that were missing, also considering the heat and conditions on the day and, not forgetting the quaility of the opposition...
For the record, the main players missing for England includes:
Glen Johnson
Ashley Cole
Joe Cole
David James
and of course David Beckham who was part of the winning LA Galaxy side which played just less than 12 hours before the England game.

LA Galaxy 2 Houston 0

As LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo met to battle out the Western Conference, the game started briskly with most of the penetrative moves coming from the Dynamo. Unfortunately though after about 15 minutes or so, the lights failed and the teams were forced into a protracted 'time-out' until the fault could be rectified. After a lengthy delay, the game restarted and The Galaxy began to play with a little more conviction.
A series of free kicks within the next ten minutes saw Beckham go close hitting the woodwork with the third effort. After the restart, the game became more of an end-to-end affair as LA sought to establish a foothold in the game. At the close of the first half, the score remained 0-0, overall Houston were looking the more dangerous side in attacking positions, but both teams had their chances.
The lights go out at the Home depot
The second half brought chances for both sides, but after just 5 minutes, the lights went off again right after Ricketts got hurt plucking the ball out of the air from a Houston cross-ball. The game continued eventually after another long break with neither team making a break-through. The game was turning into a stream of misplaced passes and errors constantly breaking play.
in the final 10 minutes, it looked like Houston pressure had paid off when they squeezed the ball past Donovan Ricketts, but the goal was disallowed.
Ninety minutes had already turned into about two hours with the lighting fiasco, yet the full-time whistle blew with the score stuck on 0-0. Extra-time began in the same vein, but after 12 minutes, a Beckham freekick caused havoc in the Dynamo penalty area, the ball was in the net and The Galaxy were 1-0 up. The final 15 minutes of this long drawn-out game began with The Galaxy having a goal in the bank and looking to finish the game off. The Dynamo having just 15 minutes to salvage something from the game...but it all went wrong for The Dynamo with just 12 mins to go when Gordon was brought down in the box and Donovan put the penalty away with consumate ease. There was no way back for Houston at this point despite rattling the cross bar of The Galaxy goal in the dying seconds of the game which ended with The Galaxy as fairly fortunate victors taking them through to the final next week as the Western Conference Champions.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Beckham's future in the MLS

Rumours are abound that David Beckham is considering committing himself to the MLS longer term maybe once the World Cuup is over. There is talk of a five-year contract, and also of the option for Beckham to have a stake in an MLS club, which is intended to happen once his playing days are over - patently this is not the case right now...
What spurred me on to write about this is the way that Beckham was pacing the side-lines pointing at an imaginary watch on his wrist on Sunday, that coupled with the way in which he stepped in to calm down Chivas coach Preki points to a man acting as much like a manager as a player.
Right now I am quite sure that Beckham's focus is on winning the MLS, getting some time in at AC Milan and getting himself ready for the World Cup. After that, it is quite possible that he sees his future in the US, although from a playing point of view, I would prefer to see him run down his career in Milan.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Galaxy progress in the play-offs

After yesterdays' thrilling and rather tense game, The Galaxy are due to meet Houston Dynamo on Friday at the Home Depot Centre. Excitement should be at fever pitch as the two teams battle it out to reach the play-offs final. The Galaxy secured the home draw by winning the Western Conference, and will travel to Seattle on 22nd November for the final if they are successful.
LA won their Semifinal series by 3-2 on aggregate over two games against local rivals Chivas USA, The Dynamo defeated Seattle Sounders 1-0 earlier yesterday.
The Eastern Conference has Chicago playing Salt Lake on Saturday for the right to go the the final.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

LA Galaxy 1 Chivas USA 0

The first half began with The Galaxy looking to push forward and put immediate pressure on Chivas. The first few minutes were all Galaxy, and Chivas looked the poorer team. Chivas worked their way back into the game, but chances were few and far between. A few long-range shots had Ricketts jumping around, but the real pressure in the first half came from LA. At the half hour point, The Galaxy were raining shots into the goalmouth, even Beckham having a go, but the score remained 0-0 going into the break.
The second half resumed in much the same vein although initially Chivas seemed to show a bit more fight. The Galaxy continued to pressurise until finally in the 70th minute Beckham released Donovan with a fantastic cross-field ball, and Donovan crossed to Magee. Magee was crudely (and rather painfully) brought down in the penalty area. Donovan stepped up to slot the resulting penalty-kick straight down the middle of the goal to make it 1-0 to The Galaxy. Just seven minutes later Beckham was substituted, possibly rested for the next game, or possibly having had a knock to his ankle earlier in the game.
Ironically, only a minute later, The Galaxy earned a free-kick in Beckham territory, but nothing came of it. LA managed to run the clock down through a full 5 minutes of extra time without conceding, ensuring their place in the next round on Friday.
The action didn't quite end there though as the Chivas coach appeared to lunge at Donovan after the whistle blew for full time and an ugly melle ensued. Players stepped in to quash any trouble, but obviously tempers, frustration and disappointment were running high.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Beckham in England squad for Brazil friendly

David Beckham makes the squad for the friendly pre-world cup warm up against Brazil, the full squad looks like this:
Ben Foster, Robert Green, Joe Hart.
Wayne Bridge, Wes Brown, Gary Cahill, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock.
Gareth Barry, David Beckham*, Michael Carrick, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Young.
Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney.

However, if The Galaxy progress in the play-offs, Beckham may not be available for the England game.

Monday, 2 November 2009

MLS playoffs

I guess the play-offs themselves merit an explanatory post seeing as those outside of the US (like myself) are probably scratching their heads at this alien method of establishing a top team.. In essence the MLS is split into two geographical 'conferences' (East and West), they are however part of a single 'league' and play against teams of both conferences. At the end of the year the top teams from each conference are pitted against each other in a play-off scenario which for 2009, started this weekend.
The teams involved are Chicago, New England and Columbus from the Eastern Conference, and LA, Chivas, Salt Lake, Seattle and Houston from the Western Conference. Although as I understand it, both Chivas and Salt Lake went through on a wildcard which means Salt Lake will play their play-off against Western conference table-toppers Columbus Crew.
As far as I can tell, the teams have been split into the following match-ups:

Los Angeles Galaxy Vs. Chivas USA (WEST)

Houston Dynamo Vs. Seattle Sounders (WEST)

Columbus Crew Vs. Real Salt Lake (EAST)

Chicago Fire Vs. New England Revolution (EAST)

I presume that the winners within each conference match-up, play each other before a final between the two champions emerging from each conference happens (22nd November). But at this stage, your guess is a good as mine... It's one more thing which goes to demonstrate that for Americans, the MLS is just soccer put onto a basketball model.

I am sure the model is tried and tested (for other sports), it's just that it doesn't fit with the rest of the world - and in the case of soccer, the rest of the world is still some way ahead of the US system. The play-off system itself doesn't harm the domestic game of course, in fact it has some merits (although whether there is any merit in a geographical divide is another matter). However, the trouble with the basketball (or baseball - I have no real idea where the model came from) model is that is also imposes the salary cap system, central contracts and all those other restrictions which prevent the US teams from competing in the real world of football (that's right Football, not soccer...). The world's best players still want to play for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona not Columbus Crew or LA Galaxy (apart from Beckham). If US supporters want to see players at the peak of their game coming to play in the US, they need to break away from the US model of restrictive practices and let the market dictate terms, salaries and contracts.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Chivas 2 The Galaxy 2

Although The Galaxy were certainly first out of the starting blocks with intent, it was Chivas who took a chance on 3 mins to go 1-0 up. Ricketts was caught out by an unexpected early shot which ordinarily he would have gathered without too much of a problem. However it took The Galaxy only 10 minutes to level the score at 1-1, Magee taking advantage of a slip by the Chivas defence and being left one-on-one with the keeper.
The Galaxy continued to pressure Chivas and certainly were playing the better football. In particular the trio of Donovan, Beckham and Buddle showed some real class, one passage of play involving two sweet back-heel passes in succession from Beckham, as the three LA players played triangles.
On 40 minutes, a Beckham corner threw the Chivas defence into disarray, the ball was cleared up-field only to be miss-kicked back into the danger area leaving Donovan to dribble the ball into the net for 2-1. Chivas defenders were left appealing for offside, either ignoring or not being aware of the fact that an atacker can't be offside when the opposition play the ball into their own penalty box...
Thus ended the first half, a hard fought passionate half which saw some rash tackles and some truly awful defending from Chivas.

The second half started very differently, LA Galaxy seemed to come out half-asleep, and a loose Galaxy back-pass saw Chivas leveling the game after only 5 minutes. The Galaxy continued to look shaky particularly in defence, and took a while to regain their confidence. Ricketts kept them in the game despite going down with an injury and the action-packed game ended with few chances for either side to score again. After a well-fought game, which The Galaxy can think themselves lucky to tie, the score remained 2-2 for this first leg of the play-of semifinals.