Beckham? We Don’t Need No Stinking Beckham
Posted by Mike on October 8, 2007
We bloggers have a memory which rivals that of a goldfish, but you may remember that this past summer, some English guy with bad ankles played in our country for like a month. Well, after he finally was injured for the season in the August 29th SuperLiga final, you probably stopped paying attention to his team, the LA Galaxy. Who could blame you really? After losing their “star” to injury and already not having won in regular season play for nearly two months, there was no reason to believe that they would even sniff the playoffs, right?
After the SuperLiga final, LA lost to bottom feeders Real Salt Lake on September 1st. Since then, the Galaxy have been on a tear, going 5-2-1 (W-L-D) in their last 8 matches including victories in their last four. Their rise has been in part due to Joe Cannon and their suddenly good defense, who have allowed one or zero goals in their five wins (and conversely, 3 goals each in their two losses) during that span. They’ve also distributed their offense very evenly, getting 13 goals from at least 9 different players; Galvin Glinton leads the team with 3 goals within the stretch. Interestingly enough, they also haven’t had trouble drawing crowds without Beckham; attendance to Galaxy matches have averaged 26,645 fans per match, and their last two games have had at least 30,000 spectators (compared to DC United, at the top of the standings and one of the MLS’ best supported teams, who have not drawn an MLS crowd larger then 25,174).
More importantly is that LA, seemingly dead in the water exactly one month ago, now has the chance to grab a playoff spot, assuming that they can win their remaining three games and Kansas City fails to win their remaining two games. And guess who’s ankles are all better just in time for the playoff push? Yep, you guessed it.
So now this Galaxy team has a problem. Sure, Beckham is a big asset to this team both on the field and in the stands. But the team is already playing extremely well in his absence. So, if you’re LA coach Frank Yallop, do you put Beckham in at risk of team disruption and another injury, hoping that his abilities will help your team get over the top in these last few, key games? Or do you decide not to disrupt team chemistry, leave him on the bench, and hope your hot team comes through to make the playoffs? How Yallop answers this dilemma will likely determine his job security.