Carson, CA – David Beckham was in good form Saturday night as he lead the LA Galaxy back from their dispiriting midweek loss away at Portland to a comfortable 3-1 home win over a formidable FC Dallas. The Texan side had won the last two encounters between the teams and looked to be on their way to a third victory when they took a smash and grab lead in the first ten minutes of the match.
However the world’s most famous soccer player had other ideas.
It was just after the thirty minute mark when the veteran England midfielder launched a free kick into the area that Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman deflected away but failed to control. Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez was quick to pounce and nodded in a free header to cancel out the goal Dallas’ Marvin Chavez had scored from the edge of the 18 in the ninth minute.
“The first goal we got tonight was a big one,” explained Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. “Because it would’ve been difficult to have been chasing that game the entire second half.”
The game was something of a chippy affair with Beckham and the Galaxy’s Gregg Berhalter both being shown yellow cards along with Chavez and Ricardo Villar on the Dallas side.
“It got chippy right away, they were hitting us and we were hitting them,” explained Galaxy midfielder Sean Franklin. “I thought it was a scrappy game, they were talking trash, we were talking trash back. But you know, it’s expected.”
The Galaxy grabbed the lead after the break when they were awarded another free kick just after the hour mark. Beckham again provided the service, floating the ball into the area for Gregg Berhalter who headed it back out to Juninho who was lurking on the edge of the area. The Brazilian wasted no time in connecting with a volleyed shot that drove the ball into the back of the net to give the Galaxy the lead.
Beckham almost added to LA’s tally himself when the Galaxy were awarded another free kick in the 79th minute. The former Manchester United man went for goal himself but sent his effort just wide of target.
“I felt like I was striking the ball well tonight,” said Beckham. “I felt that every ball that I was putting in I was putting in the right place. I thought I’d score from the free kick as well, but unfortunately I didn’t.”
With less than ten minutes remaining, LA took the game out of Dallas’ reach when Mike Magee connected with a header on another Beckham free kick to make it 3-1 Galaxy.
“Good goals and obviously they were all off of Beckham’s serve on set pieces,” said Arena. “Obviously he’s made quite a reputation for himself over the years on set pieces and he continues to have the ability to serve the ball in dangerous spots. When healthy we have a couple of players who can position themselves and attack the ball pretty well so we take advantage of it.” Those who want to help get the injured players back to the point where they are healthy may want to look into sports medicine schools. It can make the difference between teams winning and losing.
Seven minutes after Magee scored Arena subbed him off to make way for the Galaxy’s perennial holding midfielder, Michael Stephens in an apparent effort to circle the wagons and run down the clock.
By this time Dallas had largely lost their momentum and seemed to be chasing shadows. However they nearly succeeded in pulling one back in injury time when Brek Shea turned and fired a shot from the edge of the box that went just wide of the far post seconds before the final whistle was blown with the score remaining 3-1 in the Galaxy’s favor.
“We wanted to get the 3 points,” said Beckham. “But I think our performance was more important tonight after we let ourselves down in Portland. I think that was the biggest thing tonight so character-wise it was a very good performance all around the pitch. Everyone worked hard for each other and that’s the reason we won tonight.”
The Galaxy are now six points clear at the top of the Western Conference standings and will now enjoy a much needed break from their recently hectic schedule before they face Honduran side CD Motagua in the CONCOCAF Champions League on August 16th.