Beckham Gets Pissed
I’m not saying Beckham got drunk but ‘pissed’ as in pissed off and angry. Everything coming to a boil, the repeated loses adding up and LA getting scored upon in the first two minutes, and then finally what really set him off when he was fouled and the referee didn’t call it. Beckham jumped up and got into the face of the referee, cursing at him until the ref finally had to give him a yellow card.
The truth is, I’d say this is one of the best things that Beckham has brought to the MLS and LA. The idea that a player can get pissed off and that it actually gets your team pumped up and energized, and that you have to require a certain standard from your teammates, the opposing team, fans, and referees.
You can’t necessarily pinpoint the LA turnaround in this game to that moment, but it’s hard to say it wasn’t. Shortly thereafter LA was on the board and in control of the game. I don’t think it was gamesmanship, as in planned by Beckham, it’s just who is and what he used to from his days with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and England.
As the announcer Christopher Sullivan said, it was important that Bruce Arena also was up off his feet, pressing his team, supporting his team, yelling at the referees when their was a bad call. There was no laying down and rolling over when they let in the first goal of the game. Their two leaders, both newish, Beckham and Arena, were not about to let their team give up.
Donovan, probably the out and out engine of this team, and who’s on a tear in the MLS this season with 18 goals (the league record for most goals is 27 by Roy Laisiter) is really unstoppable. He finished with a hat trick and still looks like the MLS is a Sunday league for him. Please go to Europe Donovan. You’re too young not to go.
Eddie Lewis is a nice solid addition to LA. He’s consistent and a smart player. Still though, the keeper position is a problem for LA. The former Portland keeper, Josh Wicks, was in a very poor position on the second goal – not sure what he was thinking. He was caught in the middle, not sure if he should come out or stay in the goal.
But Beckham’s attitude sets a standard. He demands a certain respect. This respect even steered the referee to make a bad decision late in the game. Beckham was fouled from behind and the opposing player giving a red card. However, it wasn’t a vicious challenge, deserving of a card but not a red one. And Becks knows a thing or two about unwarranted red cards – see England versus Argentina.
"I told the linesman that I didn't think it was a red card," Beckham said. "He took a hack at me and a push and my momentum just carried me into the sign board. It wasn't a red card, but they wouldn't hear of it and that's what happened."
The overall point though is that part of the growth of the MLS is in the players demanding more from their teammates, coaches, fans, referees, stadiums they play in, and so on. They can’t settle for mediocrity or the league will.