- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2007

CARSON, Calif. — Once again, David Beckham stole the show.

This time, he actually scored.

The English star had a goal and an assist in Los Angeles’ 2-0 victory over D.C. United at Home Depot Center in the SuperLiga tournament, eliminating United from the inaugural event.

It was the second time in less than a week United faced the Galaxy. Last Thursday in the District, Beckham played sparingly in a 1-0 loss to United.

The conditions last night were much different, though. Instead of a rain slogged Major League Soccer affair, it was a crystal clear Southern California sky at game’s start.

Instead of Beckham sitting most of the match, he started and was the catalyst Los Angeles and MLS had hoped he would be.

He scored on a brilliant free kick in the first half and set up a second goal for Landon Donovan just after halftime.

A harsh tackle from behind on Jaime Moreno just 18 minutes into his first start, which earned him a yellow card, signaled Beckham’s intentions to not let his injured ankle change his game.

Minutes later, Ben Olsen returned the favor, tackling Beckham from behind in a play that garnered a whistle but no booking from the referee. Things got a bit contentious after that, and Olsen found himself in the middle of a couple of first-half shoving matches.

Up until Beckham“s yellow card, it was United that was creating the clear-cut chances on goal. But it failed to capitalize on early possessions. Luciano Emilio tried to redirect a deflected shot into the back of the net from close range, but his side volley effort missed high.

Moreno followed that effort up with a hopeful shot from 50 yards out that nearly caught Galaxy keeper Joe Cannon cheating off of his line. He eventually forced a save and earned a corner kick. Josh Gros force Cannon into another save with a shot from the top corner of the net, but nobody could find the goal.

United”s lack of finishing came back to haunt it 27 minutes into the match. From 24 yards away, Beckham stepped over a free kick directly in front of the United goal. Beckham curled one of his patented free kicks over the wall, past Troy Perkins and into the back of the net to open the scoring.

Beckham played an integral part in the Galaxy”s second goal as well. A perfectly weighted through pass found a streaking Donovan, who had gotten in behind Gros. Donovan dribbled in on Perkins, and with Namoff closing him down, shot low and on target to double the United deficit.

Emilio was twice denied a goal in quick succession by Cannon. The first time came from a quick shot from 12 yards away that forced a reaction save from the Los Angeles goalie. The second came from close range after Emilio had been slipped in alone by Christian Gomez. Emilio tried to tuck the ball away, but a hard-charging Cannon smothered the shot.

Just after the hour mark, Beckham exited the game, making way for Pete Vagenas. United immediately began to apply pressure and kept the ball in the Galaxy’s half of the field for the next 20 minutes. Los Angeles made it clear that it intended to defend the lead, dropping numbers back and limiting the scoring chances for United to a couple of odd corner kicks.

With Los Angeles bunkered in, United failed to test Cannon again and conceded defeat and the end to its SuperLiga run.

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