Beckham starts and scores first goal for Galaxy

August 16, 2007

CARSON, Calif. -- It was a night of firsts for David Beckham.

The English superstar started his first game for the Galaxy, scored his first goal on a free kick in the 27th minute and Los Angeles beat D.C. United 2-0 in the SuperLiga semifinals.

Beckham also notched his first assist on the Galaxy's second goal. He sent a long pass to a streaking Landon Donovan, who scored on a breakaway in the 47th minute for a 2-0 lead.

The Galaxy advanced to the Aug. 29 tournament final in Carson against Mexican club team Pachuca, which tied Houston 2-2, but won 4-3 on penalty kicks.

The winning team earns $1 million, which the Galaxy could put toward paying Beckham's $6.5 million yearly salary.

Beckham also earned his first yellow card after fouling United's Jaime Moreno in the 18th minute. Beckham got fouled once in the first half, when he also took two corner kicks.

Fans cheered and women screamed as Beckham prepared to take a 26-yard free kick. After he connected inside the left post, he was mobbed by teammates. Goalkeeper Joe Cannon even scampered across more than half the field to join the celebration.

Beckham waved to the crowd a couple times while blue, gold and white confetti fluttered through the air, reminiscent of the scene when he was introduced amid much fanfare July 13.

He was stopped on a 28-yard free kick in the 58th minute, when United goalkeeper Troy Perkins leaped to the left and caught the ball.

In all, Beckham played 63 minutes. He clapped his hands above his head while turning in a circle to acknowledge the cheers before putting the captain's armband on Donovan and heading to the bench.

Beckham had played just 37 minutes in two previous games because of a nagging left ankle injury that didn't allow him to practice with the Galaxy for the first time until Tuesday.

The victory avenged the Galaxy's 1-0 loss to United last week in Major League Soccer action, when Beckham made his league debut on the road.

He was named captain for Wednesday's match, a title previously held by Donovan. Beckham actively urged on his teammates, talking to them and waving his arms during play.

As the halftime whistle blew, Beckham bent over and adjusted his socks, then stood up, a broad smile on his face as he waved and walked off the field.

The game, which wasn't part of the Galaxy season ticket package, attracted an announced crowd of 17,223 in the 27,000-capacity stadium.

Galaxy midfielder Cobi Jones, who is returning from a hip injury, entered in the 71st minute. The team was without defender Ante Jazic, midfielder Kelly Gray and forward Alan Gordon, who were all suspended after receiving yellow cards in each of their two previous SuperLiga games.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press