Beckham, Galaxy play to a draw against Vancouver

November 7, 2007

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- David Beckham filled another stadium in another country, even signing a few autographs for some lucky girls playing on the field at halftime.

That was about the extent of Beckham's impact Wednesday night.

He didn't even get the loudest ovation.

That went to a streaker.

"Shame there wasn't any goals. Hope [the fans] enjoyed it with the streaker and other things," Beckham said.

The Los Angeles Galaxy, getting outplayed by their lower-division counterparts, played to a 0-0 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps in an exhibition match at BC Place Stadium.

Beckham played an uneventful 72 minutes, leaving without taking a shot or using his deft touch to set up any scoring chances. It wasn't a notable performance, potentially leaving a tougher decision about his spot on England's national team.

The Galaxy are scheduled to play the Minnesota Thunder of the USL in Minneapolis on Sunday, likely Beckham's final chance to show England coach Steve McClaren he's fit and healthy enough for a spot in England's lineup. England faces Austria in a friendly on Nov. 16 before hosting Croatia in a European Championship qualifier Nov. 21 at Wembley Stadium.

"We'll have to wait and see," Beckham said. McClaren watched Beckham play 83 minutes in a match last Sunday that benefited fire victims in Southern California.

"All I have to do is keep myself fit and put myself in the position to be selected for the national team and keep my fingers crossed that I will."

Part of the agreement on playing in Vancouver was that Beckham play at least 45 minutes and that was the original plan. But the midfielder felt fine at halftime and played a little more than 20 minutes of the second half.

He occasionally grabbed and stretched his left leg in the first half, but didn't appear winded when he left to a loud ovation, giving the fans applause as he checked out.

Yet, the cheers for Beckham couldn't top those for the streaker or a successful marriage proposal that even Beckham clapped for from the Galaxy bench.

"It's unfortunate when there are draws like this," Beckham said. "People want to see goals. But I think both teams canceled each other out tonight."

Beckham's pedestrian performance came on the same day that Pele said fans in the United States were misled by the MLS about Beckham's goal scoring ability. After the match, Beckham chuckled briefly before saying, "everyone's got their own opinions."

Vancouver easily had the better scoring chances, outshooting the Galaxy 12-3. The only one keeping Vancouver off the scoreboard in the first half was goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who atoned for tripping Eduardo Sebrango in the penalty box, by making a kick save on Sebrango's penalty attempt in the 30th minute.

Los Angeles didn't get its first shot on goal until the 51st minute with Vancouver goalkeeper Matt Nelson punched Edson Buddle's shot over the crossbar. It was easily the Galaxy's best scoring chance as Beckham's passes often failed to find a teammate.

"It's nice to play against a player like that," Vancouver midfielder Martin Nash said. "Once in a lifetime."

Galaxy reserve keeper Steve Cronin also made a pair of difficult saves late in the second half as the Whitecaps pushed forward trying to pull out the victory.

The match, delayed for more than a month by Beckham's injuries this season, drew 48,172. It also was the first match for interim Galaxy coach Trevor James, who took over after Frank Yallop resigned to take the head coaching job in San Jose earlier this week.

"For an exhibition, [the game] was very competitive," James said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press