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Major League Soccer

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

May 25, 2017
THROWBACK THURSDAY
Beckham makes his MLS debut


All eyes are on David Beckham as he tries to thread his first MLS free kick between Jaime Moreno and Fred.
All eyes are on David Beckham as he tries to thread his first MLS free kick between Jaime Moreno and Fred.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
With David Beckham appearing on the National Soccer Hall of Fame Ballot released on Wednesday, we thought a story on his MLS debut 10 years ago would be an appropriate way to kick off our Throwback Thursday feature. This story originally appeared on LA Soccer News the day of the game--August 9, 2007

WASHINGTON DC----David Beckham made his much-anticipated Major League Soccer debut, much to the delight of a sellout crowd of 46,686 at RFK Stadium, but it was D.C. United’s Luciano Emilio who gave them the show. Emilio scored the only goal in a 1-0 United win, and came close on several other occasions.

Only Joe Cannon’s heroics in goal kept the game from becoming a lopsided Galaxy loss.

Beckham, who did get into the match in the 71st minute, was hardly a factor, as D.C. United applied pressure early on to take the lead, and threatened to break the game open on several occasions, especially after the Galaxy’s Kyle Martino was red carded in the 67th minute for a studs-up tackle on Fred.

“I am happy to get out there and actually kick a soccer ball,” said Beckham. “It was a successful night, we filled another stadium of 40,000 plus. We still lost the game, so we’re disappointed.” Beckham said it was a decision earlier in the day that he would play. “There’s tenderness,” he said of the nagging left ankle injury. “There was hesitation.”

Beckham said the wet conditions in the second half were more favorable to his entering the game. “I like it when the ground is wet.”

United’s early pressure finally paid off in the 27th minute, when Mark Burch controlled a ball near midfield and pushed it forward to Emilio, who blasted a sailing right-footer on goal. Cannon got a hand on it, but could bare even slow it down as it continued its path into the net.

Emilio had come close in the 14th minute, this time with a powerful header off a corner kick. The shot caught Cannon off guard, but went over the cross bar.

Two minutes later, Emilio turned and fired a low long distance roller that Cannon easily covered up.

The Galaxy’s attack, as it has been in most games recently, was feeble, with only three shots in the first half, none of them on goal. The closest the Galaxy came in the first was an 18th minute shot by Landon Donovan that went wide of the net.

Galaxy coach Frank Yallop tried to boost the offense by bringing in Edson Buddle in place of Alan Gordon in the 62nd minute. The move almost paid off on the 69th minute, as Buddle took a shot from the top of the area that Troy Perkins had to save. Yallop’s second half moves, also bringing in Carlos Pavon in the 77th, did give the offense a spark. LA ended up with seven second half shots, two of them on goal.

“We made strides to go forward from our Toronto match,” said Yallop. We did play a little better than in that match.”

Still, the attack belonged mostly to D.C. United. Fred and Emilio almost worked a perfect give and go in the 73rd minute, with Fred laying off a perfect pass to an open Emilio on the left side. Emilio’s shot was off the mark and was picked off by Cannon.

Jaime Moreno flubbed what should have been an easy shot in the 79th minute, chipping a shot high over the goal. Two minutes later, Cannon parried another Moreno shot from inside the area over the net.

Beckham took his first free kick for the Galaxy in the 86th minute, bending a ball into the penalty area from 35 yards out. Pavon’s diving header went over the net. Buddle had another chance, in the 90th minute, pouncing on a loose ball in the area, but that effort also went wide.

“When you’ve got the last chance in the game,” said Yallop, “You really feel like you missed a point.”

While there was more than a smattering of empty seats in sold out RFK Stadium, it was apparent who a lot of the crowd had come to see. When Beckham began stretching and running behind the bench area late in the first half, cheers arose from the stands as flash bulbs began popping all across the stadium.

Beckham indicated that, barring any complications, his playing time is going to increase over the next few games. “A half on Sunday, maybe more in the next game, and hopefully a full game in New York,” he said.
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