for this game

Beckham makes MLS debut as Galaxy fall

Aug 10, 2007 - 4:05 AM
By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) - On the night David Beckham brought sellout soccer back to Washington, Luciano Emilio gave D.C. United a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday.

With his 13th goal of the season, Emilio also took sole possession of Major League Soccer's scoring lead. Marc Burch assisted on Emilio's blast from 25 yards that slipped through the outstretched hands of leaping Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon in the 27th minute.

"From the beginning of the match, the coaching staff told us that we needed to shoot from anywhere on the field, that if we had an opportunity to shoot on goal, to do so, and that's what I did on that particular play," Emilio said.

"It would be a great honor for me if I was the leading scorer in MLS, but I'm not really focusing on being the leading scorer. I'm more focused on the team being successful."

Emilio has tallied 11 goals in D.C. United's last 10 games.

"He's a machine right now scoring goals," said teammate Jaime Moreno, a six-time MLS All-Star and the club's all-time leading scorer. "That's why coach made the decision to bring him here."

Beckham elicited a flurry of flashbulbs from the crowd of 46,686 at RFK Stadium when he began warming up on the sideline during the 37th minute.

Although a steady downpour began during the 54th minute, Beckham continued his warmup drills, which kept suspense building in the house that George Allen built.

"Those were the biggest raindrops I've ever seen, much bigger than back home," said Beckham, who entered the match in the 72nd minute to make his long-awaited MLS debut as the rain subsided. "The fans were getting wet, and that made it even more enjoyable. I'm used to that sort of weather. I like when the ground is wet anyway."

Beckham delivered a cross, a free kick and served a long pass in the 87th minute to Landon Donovan, who was upended by Troy Perkins. United's goalkeeper ran all the way to the top left corner of the 18-yard box to thrwart the scoring threat.

Galaxy coach Frank Yallop was livid that no penalty was called.

"When people miss things in games that cost you at least a point, that is hard to take," Yallop said. "I felt that the officiating missed a penalty kick on Landon, and in a game like this, it means everything. They had chances and we had chances, but that can't be missed, and it did cost us the match.

"When you put all the hard work in, Landon makes a great run and gets pulled down, and he misses it, that's the frustrating part."

The second-largest soccer star in the stadium, Moreno entered the match at the start of the second half. Since May 19, Moreno has been tied with Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis for the all-time MLS lead with 108 career goals.

"I would've loved to see Jaime celebrate breaking the goal record," United coach Tom Soehn said. "I know he tried real hard and they tried real hard to stop him, but that would've made it even more special for the fans who are new to the game to experience."

"It would've been nice, but it didn't happen, unfortunately," Moreno said. "The goal got close for me, but it wasn't meant to be. I had a couple of chances, but the most important thing is the team won."

The crowd was the fourth-largest for soccer in RFK Stadium history and the biggest for an MLS game that was not part of a special doubleheader involving the U.S. National Team.

"It was a difficult situation, with a lot of hype built around this one," Soehn said. "As much as you tried to avoid the distractions for the guys, there was still a lot going on that normally doesn't happen, so it's a game where you try to keep them focused on the real goal, which is to get three points.

"At the end of the day, I think we did a good job of holding down the fort and making it difficult for them."

United players were content with earning three points.

"Hopefully, we sent a message to them that we mean business, and we're going to take that same attitude when we go out to LA," defender Bobby Boswell said. "We just wanted to make sure we got out there and got physical and let them know they were in for a long night, and I think it paid off in the end."

Galaxy midfielder Kyle Martino received a red card and was ejected in the 67th minute for spiking United midfielder Fred.

Beckham said the Galaxy took positive strides and hoped the game gained some energy in the United States, too.

"It's great to be out there because it's not nice to disappoint people who paid a lot of money to see the game, so I was thankful to actually get on the pitch tonight," Beckham said. "We want to make this league and this sport bigger and better in this country. There's still a ways to go, of course, but I think we're on the right track.

"It was a joy for me to get out there and play 20 minutes of football."