Games between England and Argentina have been testy affairs ever since Diego Maradona used his hand to score a goal at the 1986 World Cup, with the memory of the Falklands War still fresh in the minds of Argentines.
“Always against England, because of the problems they have with us, it’s a game you always want to win so you don’t forget those games,” United Argentine defender Gonzalo Peralta said.
The two players bring a lot to MLS. The graceful Gallardo is an accurate passer. Beckham brings media attention and is arguably the best crosser in the world.
The Galaxy didn’t get much for their money with an injured Beckham last year. He played a combined 252 minutes in five MLS games and notched two assists. This year, Beckham has started in 12 games, scored four goals and tallied six assists.
“He’s had a good season,” Galaxy coach Ruud Gullit said. “I don’t know what he did last season, but I’m happy with his performance.”
The hype surrounding Sunday’s game surprised Gallardo.
“It’s weird that a game is getting so much attention because where I’m from every game is like this,” he said.
Beckham remembers last year’s meeting between the teams, which United won 1-0 before a sold-out crowd of 46,000, with mixed feelings.
“The atmosphere of the fans was electric,” Beckham said. “It was a night game and raining. It was my first game in MLS and it was nice. Obviously one of the bad memories was losing the game. This year hopefully we can beat them.”
Gallardo may have other ideas.