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Beckham makes season debut, Galaxy win

Sep 12, 2010 - 5:41 AM CARSON, Calif. (AP) -- David Beckham made his season debut for Los Angeles on Saturday night, playing 20 minutes in the Galaxy's 3-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.

"Being out there felt good," said Beckham, who was out of action for six months after tearing his left Achilles tendon in March while playing for AC Milan on loan.

Beckham had been out of action since March 14, when he tore his left Achilles' tendon. The injury kept the midfielder from playing in his fourth World Cup for England.

"I've never been out of the game for such a long time," Beckham said. "It's been a quick recovery and I'm happy with that. I thought I was ready for 90 minutes four months ago."

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said he was impressed with Beckham's dedication.

"It's kind of remarkable that he's back on the field in such a short period of time," Arena said. "To put the kind of effort in to come back at his age is inspiring for our players to see. By the end of the season, we want him playing 90 minutes."

Beckham replaced Juninho in the 70th minute to loud cheers and a partial standing ovation. Four minutes later, Beckham received a yellow card for a dangerous foul against Emmanuel Ekpo.

"After 10 minutes on the field, I thought like I was dying, Beckham said. "But I came through it, felt good after that and finished strong."

Edson Buddle, Dema Kovalenko and Jovan Kirovski scored and Landon Donovan had two assists to help the Galaxy (14-5-5) regain the top spot in Major League Soccer's Western Conference, three points ahead of Real Salt Lake.

Andres Mendoza scored for the Crew (13-6-5), whose lead over second-place New York in the Eastern Conference was cut to four points.

"We gave them a little more time, especially in the middle of the field," Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. "It was mental errors on our part."

Buddle opened the scoring in the 13th minute, volleying Sean Franklin's cross from the right wing off his right instep and inside the left post from 8 yards. The goal was Buddle's league-leading 14th and his first since Aug. 14.

Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts stopped a potential tying goal in the 20th minute by blocking Steven Lenhart's 11-yard shot off a breakaway with his chest.

Kovalenko made it 2-0 in the 35th minute with his first goal in two years. A sequence of passes from Kovalenko to Kirovski to Donovan ended with Kovalenko receiving the ball from Donovan and converting from 13 yards. Kovalenko last scored on May 31, 2008, for Real Salt Lake. Donovan's assist was his league-leading 14th.

Kirovski made it 3-0 in the 55th minute on a 5-yard header off Alex Cazumba's 30-yard free kick. Mendoza scored in the 85th minute on a 16-yard shot.

Buddle left the game as the second half began because of leg cramps.








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