CARSON, CALIF. – Seattle Sounders FC fans got to see less than 17 minutes of David Beckham this season.
And when the next Major League Soccer schedule is released, Sounders fans eager for an in-person look at the world’s most famous player should hope that the Los Angeles Galaxy’s visit comes late in the 2010 season.
Beckham has said he will play the fourth and fifth seasons of his five-year MLS contract. But Grant Wahl, author of “The Beckham Experiment,” expects him to return once again as a part-time player.
“Beckham wants to be in the league next year, but he wants to be in the league on his terms,” Wahl said in a phone interview last week. “He wants to come back after the World Cup and rejoin the Galaxy more than halfway into the season, so he would be a part-time player again, just as he is this season. So, we’ll see how that works out. They would have to redo his contract for that to happen. But it sounds like the Galaxy would probably agree to that, and then Beckham could come back in the last part of 2010 and supposedly be around for all of 2011.”
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This season, Beckham missed the Galaxy game in Seattle because he was still on extended loan to AC Milan.
And while Beckham was in L.A.’s starting lineup Saturday, when the Sounders beat the Galaxy, 2-0, he didn’t stay long.
About 161/2 minutes into the game, Beckham made a spikes-up tackle on Seattle midfielder Peter Vagenas and came down hard on his former teammate’s left ankle.
Referee Ricardo Salazar immediately pulled the first red card Beckham has seen in MLS play.
“Pete is one of my best friends,” Beckham said after the game. “I think it was a hard tackle, but by no means is it a red card. I’ve never gone into a tackle wanting to hurt someone, but the referee saw it different.
“It was a hard tackle, but not malicious.”
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said he couldn’t complain about the card, and that Beckham has played enough to know that a spikes-up tackle is risky. Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan saw the card as the start of a chippy game that later saw Seattle’s Tyrone Marshall sent off after receiving two yellow cards and L.A.’s Eddie Lewis banished with a red.
“In games like that, you rely on the ref to do a good job of keeping things under control,” Donovan said. “And when the first bad tackle is given a red card, then the rest of the game follows. And that is the unfortunate part; it is too bad it has to go that way.”
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid and some of his players said they thought they had taken control of the game from the start, including the brief minutes when both teams were at full strength.
The win restored Sounders FC (8-5-8; 32 points) to second place behind Houston in the MLS West. Meanwhile, Los Angeles (7-4-10, 31) suffered its first league loss since Beckham’s return four games ago.
“I think the guys battled,” Beckham said. “It’s always hard when you go down to 10 men and lose a man. It was a tough night for us. We went into the game in such a good position and in such good form, but you can’t win every game.”
The Sounders return to training Tuesday, preparing for their Thursday night game against the New England Revolution at Qwest Field.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808