MLS Cup 2009: Should Beckham have played all 120 minutes?

We now know that David Beckham suffers from a mild form of asthma since childhood according to his spokesman which accounts for his use of an inhaler during extra time.
He was also shrugging of a cold and on top of this needed pain killing injections for his ankle bruise. What you had was a player who was noticeably short of breath and limping badly as the match wore on. This was his second extra time game in a week.
No one plays Beckham the way Bruce Arena does. He has not seen a full game in Milan and as an England player for more than three years now. Beckham’s utility is almost like that of a special teams player in the NFL. He would be ideal if there was some sort of changeover allowed in soccer.
By the time Findley had scored, Beckham was noticeably labouring. In fact, Donovan Ricketts it can be argued was let down by Beckham’s poor defensive instincts which let in Findley’s equalizer. As the game ground towards extra time, it became clear Beckham was eager to get rid of the ball at first touch which led to a number of predictable or misplaced long balls. Beckham’s corner taking was also noticeably ineffective and RSL had no problems dealing with them.
I know playing his first MLS final was a big occasion for Beckham and a chance to right every wrong. But in retrospect, it looks likes like a big mistake to have kept him that long. He should have been substituted soon after the first half and a faster, fitter Dema Kovalenko brought in. This overshadows Arena’s other controversial decision of keeping Ricketts on the pitch soon after the goalie hurt his hand in an awkward collision with Omar Gonzalez.

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2 comments on “MLS Cup 2009: Should Beckham have played all 120 minutes?
  1. I’m pretty sure that Kovalenko wasn’t in the starting XI because he became very ill, possibly Swine Flu. That’s what ESPN said before the game, anyway. I would assume that he wouldn’t have come into the game for the same reason.
    Beckham still proved useful in the penalty shootout, but I think injuries or not, he was needed on the field. Galaxy lost control of their game in central midfield, especially once Kyle Beckerman started exerting his force in the second half.
    If anyone, I thought Donovan needed to do more, especially being that he was Player of the Year. Although Beckham gave away possession too easily with his long ball-Hollywood passes, Donovan gave up the ball through poor dribbling and even worse awareness, often in dangerous positions. I’ve noticed that in other Galaxy/U.S. games, especially playoff games, Donovan will track back, win the ball and try to start up a counter attack. Last night, he didn’t do that at all, and instead waited 40 yards behind the ball, hoping a clearance would find him, kind of like Cristiano Ronaldo would do. Trouble is, he’s no Ronaldo. While Beckham didn’t defend particularly well for the goal, he at least made the effort to get back and defend their lead.
    His cross for the goal was great, but his missed penalty really summed up how poor he was on the night.

  2. Andrew, I think that might be the reason why Kovalenko did not show up. But Arena had other options too like Stefani Miglioranzi. Yes, I agree that Donovan was well below his best, except for that great cross. But I think Arena lost tactically. Donovan, Magee, Kirovksi all stayed too far up field leaving a vacuum in the center which Becks was not going to fill adequately. They became too overly reliant on Becks service. But I think taking him out might have corrected that and they would have begun tracking back more.

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