No playoffs for Beckam s Galaxy !
David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy were knocked out of playoff contention Sunday when the Galaxy fell 1-0 to the Chicago Fire on the final day of Major League Soccer’s regular season.
The Galaxy, who had mounted a late-season surge to keep their playoff hopes alive, needed a victory in order to advance to the eight-team championship playoffs of the 13-team league.
The Fire only needed a draw but managed to go one better with a 90th-minute goal to claim the last playoff spot.
A sellout crowd of 21,374 at the Fire’s home stadium included standing room temporary seating added during the week in anticipation of seeing Beckham.
The English superstar had logged 25 minutes in a Thursday game against New York in his first appearance since a knee injury on August 29.
While Beckham was likely to play limited minutes, manager Frank Yallop noted that it was not a given.
“There’s no guarantee that he will get on the field,” he said right before the game. “We have to win this match. If it’s the right thing to do then we will do it, and if it’s not. Then we won’t. I think that he will be on at some point. He’s such a good player that he can see the game out or win it for you.”
Chicago, who boast their own superstar in Mexican international Cuauhtemoc Blanco, completely dominated the Galaxy for the first 45 minutes of the game, out-shooting them 10-1, but Los Angeles goalkeeper Joe Cannon was in superb form, coming up with big saves time and time again and the first half ended scoreless.
After the Galaxy weathered more prolonged battering from the Fire, Beckham entered the game in the 58th minute, but could not add any spark to his team.
He looked rusty on the several corner and free kicks he took in his time on the pitch, sometimes not even getting the ball over the first defender. He was very obviously not match fit, and was continually gasping for air as the game wound down.
With Los Angeles pushed up looking for a goal, the game-winner came three minutes into injury time, when Caleb Carr lifted a ball from the right wing to substitute John Thorrington, who was unmarked in the middle of the field.
Thorrington – the first American player signed to the same Manchester United youth academy that produced Beckham – slipped the ball under Cannon and gave Chicago fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Galaxy will return to Los Angeles and begin the process of retooling for the 2008 MLS season, including an off-season trip to Australia and New Zealand.
Beckham, whose playing time was severely limited in his first half-season with the Galaxy due to injury, may also take part in another kind of tour.
Wife Victoria will be part of a two-month, 11-date Spice Girls reunion tour that kicks off in Los Angeles on December 7 and will include dates in New York City, London, Cologne, Madrid, Beijing, Hong Kong, Sydney, Cape Town and Buenos Aires.