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SOCCER

Beckham reacts poorly to tackle

May 20, 2008|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

You'd think David Beckham would be above such pettiness, but then you realize, "Hey, he's only 33."

On Sunday, the Galaxy played a noon game in the heat of Frisco, Texas, which some will tell you is part of Dallas but which really is a suburb way out in the sticks.

The Galaxy's opponent was FC Dallas (probably should be FC Frisco), and Beckham ran into a spot of trouble with Adrian Serioux, Dallas' Canadian international defender.

The Galaxy was blowing the home team apart en route to a 5-1 win, when Serioux made a lunging, two-footed tackle on Beckham, taking him out at the ankles and sending him flying.

Serioux then stepped over the fallen Beckham and mouthed some words. What was said is unknown, but certainly Serioux wasn't complimenting the English star on his diction or saying what nice hair he has. According to Beckham, Serioux said, "Welcome, baby, welcome."

If so, it was enough to cause Beckham to jump up and give Serioux a shove. Serioux shoved back. In stepped referee Baldomero Toledo and an assistant or two. Out came the red card. Goodbye, Serioux.

That should have been that, a bad tackle followed by an expulsion. But Beckham didn't leave it alone.

As Serioux tromped off the field at Pizza Hut Park, Beckham blew him a couple of kisses and then curled up his fingers and gave him a few farewell waves. That riled up the record crowd of 22,331, and from then on they booed Beckham every time he touched the ball.

Beckham's response? After laying on the perfect cross for Edson Buddle to head home his third goal of the game and the Galaxy's fifth, Beckham turned to the crowd and put his right forefinger to his lips in a shushing motion.

Later, he complained about Serioux's crude tackle.

"It was a terrible tackle," Beckham said. "I could have broken my leg."

Beckham is not a saint. He might smile the smile and be politically correct to a fault, but underneath all that public relations gloss is a competitive athlete that is not above a snarl and a snap.

Really, though, he should not have reacted as he did. The scoreboard was evidence enough that he and the Galaxy had outclassed an over-hyped and underachieving Dallas team.

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Dallas Coach Steve Morrow was not angered by the blowout, merely ashamed. "It was an embarrassing performance," he said. "We're going through a rough time at the moment; results aren't going our way."

One reason might be the massive mistake Dallas made in signing former Mexico national team defender Duilio Davino, who has been giving away goals all season.

Dallas should have done its homework before signing Davino and paying him $400,000 a year, more than double what anyone else on the team is earning. At his previous team, Club America, he was regarded as the weakest link in the defense.

Davino has proven to be the same thing in Texas. Against Chivas USA earlier in the season, he gifted Maykel Galindo a goal. Against the Galaxy on Sunday, he redirected a Landon Donovan cross into his own net and later made a hash of a clearance that gave Buddle the chance to score with ease.

It will be interesting to see when and whether Morrow can bite the bullet and leave his most overpaid player on the bench.

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Chivas USA is back on the training field this week, the players' mood lifted considerably by Saturday's 3-1, come-from-behind victory over D.C. United.

The way that the four-time champions fell apart in the latter part of the game, during which Chivas scored three goals in nine minutes, was enough to leave D.C. United Coach Tom Soehn livid.

In a profanity-laced tirade in the locker room -- the walls at the Home Depot Center are not that thick -- Soehn lashed out at his players, letting them know that games last 90 minutes, not 60, and that the reason they are 2-6 in MLS and 0-4 on the road is because they lack fortitude.

It was Chivas USA midfielder Jesse Marsch whose mistake gave D.C. United the lead, and it was Marsch who then scored the tying goal and inspired the comeback. Fittingly, it all came in his 315th MLS game, a figure that put him 10th on the all-time list of professional games played in the U.S., including all the leagues that have come and gone.

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grahame.jones@latimes.com

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