Chelsea scored the lone goal of the game three minutes into the second half from a corner kick. John Terry scored with a left-footed shot from 18 yards, the ball pinging off the right post before entering the net.
The Galaxy’s best chance came in the 70th minute when substitute Quavas Kirk sent a pin-point cross to an unmarked Landon Donovan who headed over the bar from just five yards.
The night’s biggest cheer so far also came in the 70th minute when David Beckham began warming up. He disappeared down the tunnel, presumably for a pain-killing injection in his left ankle. (Beckham said after the game he needed a bathroom break and his foot strapped).
Alan Gordon became the answer to a trivia question in the 78th minute when Beckham replaced him to massive applause, including a clapping Posh Spice up in a luxury suite.
Becks played a total of 16 minutes (and 19 seconds) including stoppage time, according to one press box count, touching the ball 12 times and creating a buzz in the stadium every time he did.
“It was embarrassing at times,” he said.
Becks didn’t do much, but then he didn’t have to.
“The objective was for him to get on the pitch and give people the dessert they were waiting for,” Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho said in the post-game press conference.
Still, one crunching tackle from former Reading player Steve Sidwell left him clutching his ankle and undoubtedly sent the pulses of Galaxy officials racing before he quickly jumped to his feet.
“I saw him coming and I jumped just in time, so my foot wasn’t planted when he hit me,” Beckham said.
Beckham also took one corner and sent one long ball to Quavas Kirk, providing a small reminder of his vision and accuracy and prompting Mourinho to note that “his right foot has eyes.”
Oh, and Tigres won the World Series of Football on goal difference.
“It was nice to get out there and kick a soccer ball again,” Beckham said. “I haven’t trained all week, I haven’t kicked a ball all week.”
His ankle was “swollen slightly” and it’s unclear if he will play Tuesday against Pachuca in the SuperLiga (although that didn’t stop the Galaxy from promoting that he will play in that game on the illuminated advertising sign around one half of the field).
Still, Beckham said his foot wasn’t as swollen as it was two or three days ago and his goal is to be fully fit for the Galaxy game against Chivas next Saturday at the Coliseum.
“He might not play in the next two games, we don’t know,” said Galaxy Coach Frank Yallop.
He called the game a “building block” and was visibly relieved to get Beckham’s debut out of the way.
Mind you, so was Becks.
“This last week has been one of the most incredible of my life attention-wise,” he said.
Among the celebrities paying attention and in attendance tonight: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, basketball player Kevin Garnett, Mary-Kate Olsen, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Katie Holmes.
Updated: Galaxy beat writer Billy Witz has more details.
Here’s columnist Paul Oberjuerge’s view.
Columnist Steve Dilbeck chimes in.
And it sounds like sports media columnist Tom Hoffarth really enjoyed tuning in.