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David Beckham's best effort leads Galaxy

In perhaps his finest performance in a Galaxy jersey, the midfielder scores a goal, sets up another and shows an energy unseen in a 2-0 win over Toronto.

September 20, 2009|Grahame L. Jones

Whatever it was that got into David Beckham on Saturday night, the Galaxy needs to find it, bottle it and give it to him in regular doses.

Beckham was everywhere, turning in 90 minutes of nonstop running in one of the most energetic and rewarding performances of his three-season spell in Major League Soccer.

Productive too.

Beckham scored one goal, created another and, but for bad luck, might have scored three as the Galaxy defeated Toronto FC, 2-0, at the Home Depot Center to solidify its MLS playoff chances.

All in all, it was an effort that drew an enthusiastic ovation from the crowd when Beckham was taken out with only a couple of minutes left in the match.

"I should have had three goals, to be honest, tonight," Beckham said. "I've never scored a hat trick, and if I was going to, then tonight was the night. But it was about the team performance. It was really good."

And the energy? Where did that come from?

"I really don't know," he said. "I got a second wind. I think it came from all the players because we knew how important tonight was, especially with Houston winning."

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena could hardly stop grinning afterward.

"David's a real good player, there's no question about it," he said. "He's a person with a lot of pride, besides the outstanding ability he has. He did everything he could tonight to lead this team.

"You talk about a player that technically is quick, mentally is quick. He was fabulous tonight in a number of attacking opportunities and he did the defending he needed to do. David gave 100%. It was an excellent performance."

Having given up a club-record six goals in a 6-3 loss to FC Dallas a week earlier, Los Angeles came out intent on setting matters straight.

By the 10th minute, Beckham had scored his second goal of the season.

With the Toronto defense already rattled, the Galaxy began a sweeping move that saw Beckham pass the ball out wide right to midfield teammate Chris Birchall.

With five Toronto players in full retreat, Birchall cut the ball back to Beckham just outside the penalty area. Beckham ran forward a couple of yards and then unleashed a shot that flew into the lower left corner of the Canadian team's net.

It seemed that Los Angeles would run riot, but Toronto is solid, especially with the addition of Julian de Guzman as the club's first designated player. De Guzman, a starter on Canada's national team, showed Saturday that he is worth his $1-million-plus salary.

Beckham, meanwhile, showed why the Galaxy pays him $6.5 million a year. He was everywhere, the catalyst on offense and a tireless hustler on defense.

It was, quite plainly, his finest performance in a Galaxy jersey.

Beckham might have grabbed a second goal in the 43rd minute when he hammered a grass-cutting shot from 20 yards that crashed into the foot of the left post. A couple of inches to the right and he would have had his first multiple-goal game in MLS.

As it was, he came close to scoring again in the 80th minute when he sank to his knees after flashing a shot just wide right.

Three minutes later, he stole the ball off a Toronto throw-in and fed Landon Donovan, who passed for Edson Buddle to score.

The applause at the end was genuine. Beckham has won back the Galaxy fans. As Arena would say, no question about it.


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