The Inevitable Beckham Poll

Updated Monday 9 a.m.: A belated clarification to the first question in the poll. I should have written “Will propel the team TOWARD the MLS Cup.” In other words, choose that option if you believe Beckham will IMPROVE the Galaxy when he returns. And thanks for voting

David Beckham’s return to the Galaxy in July:
Will propel the team to the MLS Cup.

Is irrelevant and just about making more money before he flees MLS for good.

Will actually hurt the Galaxy more than help. He should stay in Italy.
  
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Thursday Kicks

Briefly:
*Loyola Marymount sophomore Rafael Baca of Lawndale was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Far West Region Third Team, the first Lion to receive the honor since Bobby Burling and Diego Barrera in 2006. He has led LMU in scoring the last two years.

*Long Beach State sophomore midfielder Lindsay Bullock of Manhattan Beach and senior midfielder Hayley Bolt of Lakewood were named to the NSCAA/adidas All-West Region second-team and third-team respectively. Bullock led the team with 10 goals, while Bolt had nine.

*There’s still time to register for the Ventura County Fusion tryouts on Saturday and Sunday.

*Finally, (and trivially) check out how hung David Beckham is here.

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Alexi Lalas’ Prescription for the Galaxy: Leadership & No Becks as Captain

It was a pleasant surprise this evening to turn on the New England-Chicago playoff game on ESPN2 and be greeted by former Galaxy GM Alexi Lalas.

Lalas may have had issues as GM, but he’s always articulate and entertaining.

Lalas has kept a low profile since getting fired from the Galaxy and I believe the comments he made about the situation before the game were the first of any depth.

Here’s an excerpt of what he had to say about what new GM and Coach Bruce Arena needs to do:

“His first order of business is to find some leadership, to fill the void that exists in the Galaxy with leadership. He needs to go out there and find some real SOB’s; some guys who don’t care about saying the truth, don’t care about hurting people’s feelings and aren’t afraid they’re going to lose their job for doing so.

“He needs to make one of those guys captain, to be quite honest. This not a question of a Galaxy that doesn’t have talent, it’s a question of there was a leadership void. The fact is you need to send a message that nobody is bigger than the club whether you’re David Beckham or whether you’re Tristan Bowen, an 18-year-old coming into the club.

“Everybody has to understand it’s the team first.

“If I regret something it’s that I recognized that early on and probably didn’t do enough to correct that situation.”

I wonder how Beckham would react to having the captaincy taken away from him? And why does a team that has the experienced likes of Beckham, Landon Donovan and Pete Vagenas not have leaders anyway?

Still, Lalas’ prescription for improving the Galaxy sounds an awful lot like Arena’s, who has essentially said the same thing.

Incidentally, Beckham is joining a team in AC Milan that is top of the Italian league for the first time in four years.

BTW, Beckham is supposedly going to share taking free kicks with Ronaldinho.

And what could be – let’s emphasize the could – Beckham’s first game is the 11:30 a.m. Sunday Jan. 11 encounter against Roma. Fox Soccer Channel will televise that game live.

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Email Of The Day

Here’s one response to my column today on David Beckham.

”Funny thing about American sports heroes, they have to perform to earn/retain their status. What has this over-hyped boy done except bundle away a lot of foolishly spent cash?”

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Beckham Enters Game

David Beckham returned from seven weeks out injured in the 68th minute when he came in for Pete Vagenas with the score tied 1-1 and the Galaxy needing to avoid losing to end their season.

The crowd has gone bananas and the flash bulbs are popping.

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Beck’s Back in Training

In what was a surprise to both the Galaxy and reporters, David Beckham kicked a ball today for the first time in more than a month.

So unanticipated was the “event,” no cameras were on hand to capture the moment, so the picture accompanying the following story is an old one (although it doesn’t make that clear).

Check it out here.

By the way, they’ll likely be no blogging first thing in the morning.

I’m heading downtown to the Biltmore Hotel for the 10th Honda Symposium, a two-day event that culminates Friday with the Honda Player of the Year Award Ceremony (the nominees are the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, Fulham’s Carlos Bocanegra and Everton’s Tim Howard).

Speaking Thursday are Galaxy GM Alexi Lalas, U.S. Men’s National Team Coach Bob Bradley and Mexican Football Federation General Secretary Decio de Maria.

The Biltmore has Wi-Fi so I’ll blog as events warrant.

Updated 8 a.m. Thursday:
It didn’t take long for the Beckham for England speculation to crank up over there.

Not noted in that BBC story: The Galaxy have home games Oct. 13 and Oct. 18 against Toronto and New York respectively

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Scan Confirms Beckham Out Six Weeks

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The Galaxy’s season went from merely horrendous to catastrophic late this afternoon when they received the official medical diagnosis: removal of the Beckham cash-making machine.

Wait, no make that a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee, discovered after a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) performed by team physician Dr. Ronald Kvitne at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

So that’s eight games and out for Beckham (five MLS, two SuperLiga and one World Series of Football).

That’s in addition to the left ankle injury he has nursed ever since picking it up June 6 playing for England.

He’s missed three of the Galaxys last six league games and all three in the opening round of SuperLiga.

By the time he returns the MLS season will almost be over and England’s future in Euro 2008 decided.

The only MLS games left after you count six weeks out: the Red Bulls at the HDC Oct. 18 and Oct. 21 in Chicago.

He’ll also miss an Oct. 3 friendly against the Vancouver Whitecaps that’s being heavily promoted.

Here’s the reaction from the BBC.

Updated 8 a.m. Friday: Galaxy beat writer Billy Witz has more on the $10,483.87 per minute man. (Yes, he did the math).

You can check out how Beckham sustained his latest injury plus see the rest of the Galaxy-Pachuca highlights below.

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Friday’s (Late) Daily Beckham

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Doncha hate it when actual work gets in the way of blogging?

So I’m (very) late in noting that, as expected, David Beckham earned a recall today to the England squad for the game against Germany next week.

It’s impressive just to go down the list of players on the England squad and their teams and see “David Beckham, LA Galaxy.”

It’s a reminder that a player The Times (of London) recently called the 32nd best player in the world is now playing in MLS.

And if Wednesday’s game is any indication, Beckham (when fit) won’t just play. He’ll dominate.

It’s instructive to note that since Juan Pablo Angel joined the Red Bulls he has become the league’s most exciting player. Today the third leading goalscorer in MLS, Angel never really blossomed in England. He was too small, not physical enough.

In MLS though, Angel’s skill comes through.

It will be the same with Beckham. Judging by Wednesday’s sterling performance, where frankly at times he looked like a man playing against boys, Beckham will shine.

His soccer brain, anticipation and touch were so superior to every other player on the field that in a sport where one player usually does not dominate the other 21 on the field, Beckham will become an exception.

“The difference is the game savvy,” said Landon Donovan. “He understands the game on every level. And he knows how to win a game.”

Judge for yourself by checking out Wednesday’s action:

For more on Beckham’s impact on MLS, this is what Galaxy beat writer Billy Witz wrote today.

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