Beckham is in right place at right time

Whatever the common language was on the Home Depot Center field Saturday night, it certainly wasn't soccer.

In an error-filled game of almost comedic proportions, it was Chivas USA that made one mistake too many and paid the price.

Failing to properly clear a deep throw-in by the Galaxy's Todd Dunivant in the 80th minute, Chivas saw the ball reach an unmarked David Beckham, whose half-volley flew into the back of goalkeeper Lance Parker's net off the inside of the left post.

It was Beckham's first goal of the season and it was enough to earn the Galaxy a 1-0 victory and also to push Chivas tempers, already frayed, over the edge.

Two minutes after the goal, Chivas striker Maykel Galindo caught Galaxy defender Greg Berhalter with an elbow thrown in anger and the Cuban forward was immediately ejected.

"It wasn't our best game, we didn't play our best soccer, but at the end of the day we needed the three points and we got the three points," Beckham said.

The victory improved the Galaxy's record to 9-4-11 and kept it solidly in second place in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, good for a playoff spot if it can hold its position.

The loss, the seventh in the last nine games by Chivas, saw it fall to 10-9-3 and drop to fourth place in the conference. Things are rapidly coming unraveled for Coach Preki's snake-bitten team.

The final score might have been 2-0 had it not been for a splendid save by Parker in the final minute of injury time. A pass from Landon Donovan to Beckham saw Beckham back-heel the ball into Donovan's path and Donovan's low shot was barely snagged by Parker.

Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts also had a close call. It came in the 42nd minute when midfielder Sacha Kljestan sent a perfectly weighted through ball to Galindo, just to the left of the Galaxy net. The striker unleashed a low, powerful shot that Ricketts did well to smother at the near post.

Other than that there wasn't much in the way of smooth, flowing, intelligent soccer, and the announced sellout crowd of 27,000 had to find other things with which to amuse itself.

There was, for instance, the angry spat between Beckham and referee Baldomero Toledo about 10 minutes into the second half, when Chivas midfielder Paolo Nagamura handled the ball at midfield.

Beckham saw it. Toledo did not. Beckham let him know in no uncertain terms.

There was, also, the earlier bit of shoving and verbal jousting between Chivas winger Jesus Padilla and Galaxy defender Dunivant. It didn't amount to much, but the two kept their individual duel going throughout the game.

For Galaxy fans, there was the moment, in the 69th minute, when Chris Klein came on as a substitute for Eddie Lewis. Why was that of note? Because it extended Klein's MLS-record appearance streak to 139 games.

For Chivas fans, there was the MLS debut of Colombian youth international Yamith Cuesta. The 20-year-old was dropped into the center of the Chivas defense and, in a surprisingly smooth effort, hardly put a foot wrong all game.

Overall, though, this was not vintage soccer, even by MLS standards.


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