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Beckham’s return a longshot

Times Staff Writer

The Galaxy has played 1,620 minutes of Major League Soccer this season and Coach Frank Yallop has called on 29 players, including the now-sidelined David Beckham.

In terms of minutes played, they range from the 45 minutes given to rookie midfielder Mike Caso against the Colorado Rapids last Sunday to the 1,620 minutes -- or every minute of every game -- played by goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

Beckham’s MLS contribution totals 198 minutes, and in a radio interview Friday with Ryan Seacrest on KIIS-FM (102.7), Beckham indicated that his sprained right knee and his still tender left ankle mean he is unlikely to add to that total in the Galaxy’s last 12 games of the regular season.

“It’s a strain on my ligaments,” Beckham said, although he meant sprain. “So it’s at least eight to 10 weeks out, which takes me to the end of the season.”

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He hoped he might be able to cut that time in half, however.

“I’m going to start rehabilitation straight away,” he said. “They say eight weeks, but I’m usually a quick healer, so I’m looking four to six weeks, personally.”

That said, it has been almost three months since Beckham first injured his ankle in Europe and it still has not completely healed.

“I shouldn’t have come back so soon,” he said. “I shouldn’t have played so soon. . . . I rushed back too early. My ankle is not completely right, maybe 90% right.”

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Meanwhile, Cannon, 32, is feeling a little banged-up himself, and it is possible that he could be given a break tonight when the Galaxy plays Real Salt Lake at the Home Depot Center.

“I’m hobbling around out there,” Cannon said before shutting out Pachuca on Wednesday night in the SuperLiga tournament final until the Galaxy lost the game on penalty kicks. “I’m not one to sit out a game . . . but I’ve never felt, like, this tired all the time. I woke up sore this morning and I could barely walk.”

Cannon has faced 108 shots and given up 31 goals in 18 MLS games, or 1.72 a game, much different from his 1.26 career average coming into this season and indicative of the Galaxy’s porous and unsettled defense

“I feel for him because the team hasn’t played well in front of him,” Yallop said. “That’s been the big issue.”

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If Yallop gives Cannon a rest, he can call on either Steve Cronin, 24, or Lance Friesz, 23.

Cronin, a former U.S. under-20 national team standout, is the senior of the two, but his league experience consists of only five MLS games, one in 2005 and four in 2006. This year, he has played four matches, winning two of three in the U.S Open Cup and losing, 1-0, to Glasgow Rangers in an exhibition.

“It’s been tough,” Cronin said, “because in the beginning of the year . . . I put together a couple of good performances and then it was like, ‘What’s after that?’

“I heard along the way that some other teams wanted to bring me in, but they [Galaxy coaches] wanted to keep me here and I had no problem staying. . . .

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“As far as my playing time and things like that, when there’s 25 or whatever other guys on the team, it’s hard to look at yourself and be selfish.

“On the other hand, I need to play and I’m confident in how I play. It hasn’t come yet. I feel like throughout my career so far . . . it just feels like there’s always been something in the way.”

Times staff writer Jaime Cárdenas contributed to this report.

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TONIGHT

vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30, HDNet

Site -- Home Depot Center.

Radio -- 1700, 830 (Spanish).

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Records -- Galaxy 3-10-5; Real 3-11-6.

Record vs Real -- 1-0.

Update -- Real Salt Lake recently signed three Argentine players, midfielder Javier Morales, forward Fabian Espindola and defender Matias Mantilla, and they helped the team defeat the Wizards, 3-1, in Kansas City on Wednesday to overtake the Galaxy, which fell to last place.

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grahame.jones@latimes.com


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