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DC United 1 LA Galaxy 0: Debut of David Beckham

Goalscorer Luciano EmilioSoccer Insider Steve Goff has begun referring to ESPN and BSPN, replacing Entertainment with Beckham. Anybody who watched last night’s match between DC United and the LA Galaxy knows why. The vast majority of the telecast was spent discussing David Beckham and his impact on MLS and soccer in the United States.

There was a Beckham cam that BSPN went to much too often, especially when he was either on the bench or warming up for the first 71 minutes of the match. DC defender Bobby Boswell had much more to say. Boswell on BSPN

“They’ve got to figure that out, because it’s not any fun, man. It’s not fun for the guys playing, it’s not fun for the people watching. I watched Chelsea when they played L.A.; I don’t care about him taking his shoe off. I am absolutely baffled how Eric Wynalda–guys that have played the game–are just riding this thing like they don’t give a damn. It just baffles me. It’s a shame, man. That’s not going to do soccer any good in this country, to have stuff like that.

They say, ‘People are coming to the games,’ but how hard would it have been on SportsCenter to show Luciano scoring, to show him running around like an idiot, so happy, celebrating? Two guys; Beckham and Luciano, you know what I mean? Show the red card, show that tackle; people would be like ‘Damn, that’s crazy, that’s for real.'”

The man has a point. In his blog today, Jeffrey Marcus of the NYT took BSPN to task; today’s post is titled “ESPN’s Beckham Obsession”.

For me, I liked the soccer part of the telecast.

Marc BurchMarc Burch was again excellent at left back. I’ve always rated this guy, from the time I first saw him play at Maryland. I told my brother I thought he was the best player on the field then and then again in the college cup semifinals and finals. I was very surprised when he didn’t earn a place with LA or Columbus, but still held out hope when he moved to DC. His left foot is powerful and accurate and he plays cleverly and smartly. Last night on a rampaging run through the box Burch beat his man for pace and then tricked Abel Xavier with a lovely flick over his foot. The resulting near post half-volley narrowly missed the near post. I think the play got one replay. If Beckham or Adu or Blanco pulled off a similar move, it would have been replayed and analyzed to death. The broadcasters made brief mention of the play but did not offer the praise it deserved. I’m thankful for the strides soccer has made the last few years in terms of media coverage, but it still has a long way to go. Boswell nailed it.

The sad part is that the game was good. It had its choppy moments, but DC pinged the ball around nicely and played good football. Emilio scored on a 22-yard rocket that Cannon probably should’ve done better on. DC should have added a couple more goals: Emilio and Boswell both went high with free headers. Beckham did make an impact in his 20 minutes. Perkins bravely stopped Donovan from latching onto a nearly perfectly weighted through pass from Beckham. Pavon headed a Beckham free kick over the bar from a difficult angle.

The DC fans represented well. The “WE SING BETTER THEN YOUR WIFE” banner in front of the Screaming Eagles was classic. It was a great night for soccer in DC.

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