The MLS wants its biggest stars in its biggest media markets. The idea of Thierry Henry and David Beckham playing in New York and Los Angeles respectively has the “powers that be” at MLS offices in New York working attentively. It is too soon to tell whether or not Henry’s move to New York will be success or not. The case for Beckham however attracts polarizing views ranging from worldwide success to downright disaster.
On the field results have not been overwhelmingly successful. Beckham has suffered through injuries, constant jabs from the press of his lifestyle and determination to make the Galaxy a world renowned club. How ironic it is Beckham is playing some his best football with the Galaxy on this his final year of a five year contract. Beckham’s play even has a few within the game whispering a possibility of winning the MVP award. Beckham and Co. did make it to the MLS Cup only to lose to perennial MLS powerhouse Real Salt Lake. If Beckham’s life was a fairytale, the result would have been different.
In 2011 it appears the Galaxy may have come together for an elusive championship run. Beckham has MLS veterans Landon Donovan and Juan Pablo Angel as well as defensive stalwarts Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin. Could this be the year the Galaxy win the MLS Cup? The last time Beckham was in the final year of a contract (2007) was with Real Madrid. In 2007 the Galacticos won La Liga.
For all of the pageantry which comes along with the Galaxy when they come into town, one question matters above all else. Can this team play with the best of the MLS? So far this season the answer is yes. The Galaxy are currently in first place in the Western Conference, have the most points in the league and are tied for the best goal differential.
Chicago Fire vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
Gone are the days on Beckham playing on the right wing. No one could ever accuse Beckham of being fleet of foot even in the prime of his career. Now in the twilight of his career, Beckham plays in a central midfield role. No doubt his ability to view the field and his pinpoint passing are better suited in a more central role.
One aspect of Beckham’s game which appears to not have suffered at all is his set piece ability. In the opening minutes, Gregg Berhalter narrowly missed scoring a goal on a header delivered by Beckham. Early in the first half one may not believe Beckham is a 36 year old football player. His workrate can be compared to a player years younger.
Fast forward to the second half and there is Beckham once again. He is getting ready to take his corner kick. As an observer, one can’t help noticing the flash of the cameras in the background. It is almost as if though somehow, someway the camera is able to capture all that makes Beckham so deadly in deadball situations. In the 58th minute the Galaxy score their first goal. It is all a product of Landon Donovan connecting on a free kick from David Beckham. Two teammates who once did not see eye to eye have put their team ahead. Not to be outdone the Fire score a goal in the 62nd minute. This time the Galaxy was let done by Gregg Berhalter getting caught out of position. In the 66th minute the Galaxy would strike again. This time it was David Beckham scoring a goal off of a corner kick. The Fire made attempts to tie the match but to no avail.
This match for the Galaxy offered a glimpse of what has happened to the Galaxy in years past. Its superstars were finally able to set aside their differences for the good of their team, a defense which at times can fail in key situations, and finally absolute magic from dead ball situations. One may be inclined to think this may not be the last time they will get to see the Galaxy pull off a 12 match unbeaten run of this magnitude. However, we are all aware of what occurred the last time David Beckham was in the final year of his contract.