Friday, August 24, 2007

Beckham LA dream begins to crack

At the final whistle in the Home Depot Center last night, the Beckham bandwagon in America first began to lose its sheen.

Only a few days ago it had all looked so rosy. Having impressed in the few weeks since he moved to the West Coast of America with LA Galaxy, pulling crowds of up to 66,000, Beckham last night appeared less than fit and less than happy as his sub-par team stumbled to a miserable 0-3 defeat to local rivals Chivas USA.

The Galaxy is far from stellar - LA have won only three of their 17 games so far and have a goal difference of minus 7. Eight of the 13 clubs in MLS qualify for the end of season playoffs but it looks like Beckham's will not now be one of them after this thumping by their mid-table local rivals. The Galaxy have still to win away and boast the second to worst home record in the league.

The former England captain had of course played 90 minutes for England at Wembley a day earlier, jetting across eight time zones back to California."I'm not going to deny there comes a point when your body can't do it anymore," Galaxy CEO Alexi Lalas told the BBC on Friday. "If at any point we felt it was detrimental to his health or ability to help our team we would take action."

These comments come in stark contrast to Lalas' previous insistence that he would personally drive Beckham to the airport when he had England games to play in.Combining MLS with England duty will be an even bigger ask for Beckham in October when England have two key European Championship qualifiers and the Galaxy will be making a final push for the playoffs.

That is assuming the Galaxy can improve on their current malaise. Second to last in the Western Conference, LA would be 12th out of 13 if MLS had a single table, although they have played up to five fewer games than some of their rivals.Beckham insisted on playing two games in two days with an 11-hour flight over eight timezones in between to appear the model professional, but no footballer can reasonably be expected to maintain such a schedule for long.

Jet lag is a fact of life for all human beings, millionaire celebrities or no. Beckham has been brave in tying to combine both roles, but after this week's double-header it is evident he will have to choose. To further complicate the situation, the MLS season runs March to November, meaning an all-year cycle of soccer for European internationals like Beckham.

Beckham never expected to encounter such a dilemma when he agreed to join MLS because he was convinced his England career was over; his unexpected recall by Steve McClaren complicated his new life in California.

He still has the generous remuneration, his happy wife and children and his celebrity circus in Hollywood to fall back on, but it looks like David Beckham's England career, after a brief resurrection, really could be ending soon for good.

Unless of course he abandons his US adventure having barely begun it. But given the media supernova which has accompanied his coming to America, and his wife's long-stated desire to be among the superficial stars in LA, it seems he will have to grin and bear it for four more years.

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

World Soccer News

1 comment:

Andre Botelho (Expert Soccer Coach) said...

We do not build a team with just or two good players. It takes years of team building and Beckham can not do all my himself. The only positive factor I see is that this enthusiasm around the english player can bring more younger amarican players to practice soccer and take the game to a higher level un the us.