Need a break from the Beckham talk?
Naturally reporters were much more interested in talking about David Beckham today than the much more important-sounding than it really is Pan-Pacific Championship, the four-team preseason tournament that begins Wednesday at Home Depot Center.
So here’s the latest from Coach Bruce Arena, although let’s keep in mind he conceded today he’s never spoken to Milan officials or Beckham representatives about any possible deal, since all that is being handled by AEG President Tim Leiweke (so Arena said he is unaware, for instance, whether AC Milan officials are on en route to L.A. to continue negotiations over Beckham’s contract, as reports out of Europe suggested today).
On whether a deal was still possible, despite the unilateral Beckham trade deadline “imposed” by MLS Commissioner Don Garber that came and went last Friday:
“Legally, technically, March 8 would be the final date of altering the loan agreement,” he said. “I think that would be accurate.”
On whether the Becks and Landon Donovan trade issues are a distraction:
“Whenever you have these type of situations and two important players away from your team, it’s a less than perfect way of preparing, but it hasn’t been a distraction of anything we’ve been doing,”he said. “We prepare (the team) like you do everyday when you have players not here whether they’re away on loan or injuries or because of suspension. It’s the business of the game. You’re constantly making adjustments for players you do or don’t have.”
But veteran Galaxy midfielder Eddie Lewis conceded today that if the Galaxy forces Donovan or Beckham to return, that does not bode well for the team:
“If they’re not happy to come back I think it would be silly to not think there would (not) be some sort of hangover effect. They’re both playing with extremely big clubs in powerful leagues.”
Finally, here’s some non-Beckham team news. Last week the Galaxy cut five players from camp – Vardan Adzemian, Venezuelan central defender Leo Bautista, 2008 first round draft pick Mike Gavin and midfielder Mike Muoz (formerly of Chivas USA) – to leave the Galaxy’s roster at 33 players.
Arena was asked why Bautista, who came in as a highly-touted possible starter, was cut:
“He’s a somewhat inexperienced player who might not be physically strong enough to deal with the speed of the game in MLS,” he said. “He wasn’t the answer for us at this point in time.”
Salutations from the soggy South Bay, where the winter’s biggest storm is drenching us.
Thanks to Scott Wolf and others who contributed to the blog during my week-long absence.
I’m off to a press conference at Home Depot Center shortly where the Galaxy and representatives of the other three teams in the Pan-Pacific Championship will attempt to explain the import of this preseason tournament.
At least for Galaxy fans the Wednesday and Saturday doubleheaders will provide an opportunity to see what sort of job Coach Bruce Arena has done rebuilding the team so far. More on the tournament in Tuesday’s column.
But just have time to note that:
*David Beckham, reportedly the subject of a rejected $3 million bid Friday by AC Milan, limped out of the derby against Inter Sunday after an undistinguished hour or so. More here.
*Landon Donovan meanwhile, came on as a first half substitute for an injured Luca Toni, but couldn’t prevent Bayern Munich from sliding to a 2-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin on Valentine’s Day. With the loss, Bayern relinquished the top spot in the Bundesliga to Hertha.
*And Women’s Professional Soccer announced this morning it has reached a contractual agreement with members of the U.S. Women’s National Team so expect a flurry of signings soon. From the (edited) WPS press release:
“The contract may extend over three seasons and provides for players in the U.S. Women’s National Team pool to be compensated by the teams for on-field play and for off-field commercial and marketing appearances.
The average league salary: about $32,000.
Here’s some David Beckham quotes from the News of the World.
“Has it been a success? Off the field, yes. On the field? Well . . . we haven’t even made the play-offs so that’s the tough part.
“So off the field, it has been a success. I don’t know if I have left any sort of legacy — we’ll just have to wait and see.”
“I’ve always said I don’t regret things and I don’t regret the two seasons at LA. They might have been disappointing in that we haven’t won anything or even made the play-offs — but I’ve met some really good people and there are really good people at the club.”
Does it really matter what the Galaxy say if David Beckham and AC Milan ignore them?
Here’s the Galaxy official statement regarding David Beckham.
“Today’s deadline imposed by Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber regarding a resolution of David Beckham’s potential transfer to AC Milan has passed and we did not receive an acceptable offer for the player. As a result, David remains an LA Galaxy player and we look forward to having him back with the club starting March 9.”
Tim Leiweke told the Associated Press that David Beckham will return to the Galaxy next month.
“We didn’t receive an offer today,” Leiweke said. “We will abide by the commissioner’s wishes, so we are clear at this point that we don’t want to have any further conversations.”
So Becks is back. Or is this merely another chess move?
You don’t have to go all out like this guy, but for the first time ever U.S. Soccer is encouraging fans across the country (tickets to the game were sold to addresses in 43 states) to wear red on Wednesday to show their support for the U.S. Men’s National Team’s match against bitter rivals Mexico in the opening game of the final round of World Cup qualifying.
The sold out match is live at 4 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPN2 HD and Univision.
Three nations in the six-country round-robin final round – the so-called haxagonal – qualify directly for South Africa; the fourth-placed team will take on the fifth-placed finisher in South American qualifying for spot in the World Cup finals.
Vital fact: The U.S. are unbeaten against Mexico at home since 2000 and have scored 17 goals here to the Mexican’s three.