Times Staff Writer

1_David Beckham, who will lead the Galaxy against a Chinese all-league team in Shanghai tonight, could make his 100th appearance for England in a game against the United States at Wembley Stadium in London on May 28.

The match has not yet officially been agreed to by U.S. Soccer and the English Football Assn., but the respective federations are said to be close to finalizing a deal.

From a marketing standpoint, having Beckham reach a century of caps for his country against his new adopted country has a certain appeal.

Of course, England Coach Fabio Capello could undermine it by calling Beckham up for England’s game against France in Paris on March 26, but still the attraction on both sides of the Atlantic of Beckham versus Landon Donovan at Wembley is undeniable.


The last time the U.S. played England was in Chicago in 2005, when England won, 2-1.

2_Argentina is considering playing two games in the U.S. as both countries prepare for the resumption of World Cup qualifying.

Plans call for Argentina to play Mexico in San Diego on June 4 and the U.S. on June 8, possibly at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Argentina is preparing for World Cup qualifying games against Ecuador and Brazil. The U.S. opens its campaign against Barbados or Dominica at the Home Depot Center on June 15.


3_So much for the vaunted Olympic goal medal winner and English Premier League veteran coming in to shore up the Galaxy’s woeful defense.

Celestine Babayaro, who won gold with Nigeria at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and as recently as last fall was playing for Newcastle United in England, has been waived by Los Angeles.

Also released by the Galaxy were midfielders Kyle Martino and Kelly Gray.

4_The pride and joy of Galaxy defender Abel Xavier is a white convertible Bentley that he parks -- very carefully -- inside the Home Depot Center as near as possible to the locker rooms and right alongside David Beckham’s black Cadillac Escalade.


Cars very often are status symbols for players, but they can sometimes land them in trouble.

When Sunderland was demoted from the English Premier League in 2003 and pink slips were everywhere, one player was fined two weeks pay for showing up in a new Ferrari.

“It’s about having a bit of decorum,” Derby County Coach Paul Jewell told England’s Guardian newspaper. “If 70 people are getting laid off, leave it a couple of days before you come in in your Ferrari.”

So what did Jewell do when one of his own players, former Welsh international midfielder Robbie Savage, arrived for training in his $320,000 Mercedes the other day, despite the fact that Derby is dead last in the Premier League with one win in 28 games and is certain to be relegated?


“Sav had a flash car before he got here,” Jewell said. “All the players here have flash cars, it’s the Premier League.

“Robbie is an international footballer. He’s played in the Premier League all his life, so he’s entitled to earn a lot of money and spend it how he likes.”

5_Strange days, these, for Inter Milan and Brazil striker Adriano, who appears to be making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Too much partying and too much weight caused Inter to send him on loan to Sao Paulo for a refresher course on what it takes to be a professional. So much for that idea.


Since returning to Brazil in December, Adriano, 26, has been suspended after head-butting an opponent, has partied as hard as ever, has been involved in a car crash, has threatened a photographer and has been fined 40% of his salary by Sao Paulo.

Even Adriano’s current girlfriend, super model and samba queen Viviane Castro, has not escaped notice. Her dance group, Sao Clemente, lost out at Rio de Janeiro’s famous Carnaval when her triangular 1.6-inch “costume” -- supposedly the smallest in samba parade history -- came unglued, causing Castro to show far more than Janet Jackson ever did at the Super Bowl.





There might be a lesson to be learned in being the No. 1 pick in the annual Major League Soccer draft. Only the most recent four are still with the club that picked them. Here’s where the 13 top picks are now:

*--* Year Player Drafted by Current club 1996 Brian McBride Columbus Fulham (England) 1997 Tahj Jakins Colorado Out of MLS 1998 Leo Cullen Miami Out of MLS 1999 Jason Moore D.C. United Out of MLS 2000 Steve Shak MetroStars Out of MLS 2001 Chris Carrieri San Jose Out of MLS 2002 Chris Gbandi Dallas FK Haugesund (Norway) 2003 Alecko Eskandarian D.C. United Chivas USA 2004 Freddy Adu D.C. United Benfica (Portugal) 2005 Nikolas Besagno Real Salt Lake Real Salt Lake 2006 Marvel Wynne MetroStars Toronto FC 2007 Maurice Edu Toronto FC Toronto FC 2008 Chance Myers Kansas City Kansas City *--*




Ali Daei, one of the world’s all-time

top goal scorers, who this week was

selected coach of Iran’s national team:


‘I love my reputation more than anything.’



* There were 700,000 tickets available for the June 7-29 European Championship in Austria and Switzerland, but tournament organizers received 11 million applications from around the globe.