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The Beckham Watch

So David Beckham says he felt something snap. I'm no doctor, but that's probably not a good thing, eh? If it's serious, there will be more than snapping at Galaxy and MLS world headquarters.

By Steve Goff  |  June 19, 2007; 8:07 AM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: United News and Notes


Say this in you're best Nelson voice: "Ha Ha."

Posted by: Brendan | June 19, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Alexi Lalas sounds like an absolute fool. If he keeps his attitude all happy and ignorant, other players and organizations are going act as though they can walk all over him. He should be "very concerned" about the health of such a huge investment.

When it comes down to it, who cares about Beckham's absenses for England call-ups?! It's more likely that he'll sit out of Galaxy games to recover from this injury; fly to Europe for EURO qualify; play injured; and come back to recover again.

While Lalas may have had the opportunity to keep an unhealthy Beckham in LA, he doesn't have the clout or the respect now to demand the Beckham stay in LA to recover when the fool-of-an-England coach puts David's name on his roster.

What a fool.

Posted by: TCompton | June 19, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Just hope that Beckham doesn't see the same doctor that Josh Gros did for his broken wrist.

Posted by: Section 108 | June 19, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Was the snapping from a wet towel-wielding Tom Cruise in the dressing room?

Posted by: Hoost | June 19, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Steve, late last night I read an article where Lalas basically called out the EPL and the euro snobbery. Has there been any reaction or backlash from that yet?

Posted by: Chico | June 19, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

One word for Lalas and the Galalalxy: CIRCUS!

Posted by: Felix | June 19, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Um....more Lalas-is-a-fool evidence:

The Los Angeles Galaxy president, who scored when the United States beat England 2-0 in a friendly in 1993, told British newspapers that Major League Soccer is on a par with the Premier League.

Irked by suggestions that David Beckham is going into semi-retirement by joining the Galaxy, Lalas said the only reason the English league is popular is because of American-style marketing.

Posted by: RK | June 19, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

More than likely the snap was the one of the remaining fibers left in either his talofibular, calcaneofibular, or tibiofibular ligaments---or all three!

My guess is that he had a mild sprain initially, probably should have been kept out longer, and now has a total shredding of his ankle.

But he did walk off and that lovely LA smog should help him heal quite nicely to ride the LA bench until the next Euro Qualifier.

Posted by: del | June 19, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse
is the article above is talking about. Lalas is an idiot for real, saying MLS equals premier league quality? not a chance!

Posted by: rosado | June 19, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Just read in the rumor section of the BBC football section that Birmingham City is "chasing" Gooch.

Have you heard anything else about this?

Posted by: Pino | June 19, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I just read a rumor that DC United is pursuing a defensive player named Juan Manuel Pena from Bolivia who has been playing in the La Liga? Any truth to the rumor?

Posted by: DC United Fan | June 19, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Lalas may be an idiot, but of course he is concerned about Becks health. What could he possibly gain from sounding concerned in an interview?
There are myriad reasons to not say anything that could be construed as controversial to a reporter while a business negotiation is going on. Perhaps sponsors might still be able to pull out from some events and he is trying to calm them down till he has their money in hand, for example.
It is in his best interest to present a confident, 'this will all work out wonderfully' face.

Also, Becks' contract is probably pretty intense. I can't imagine that he will be able to ditch Galaxy games as if they were J-League games. It is probably in his contract that he must play a certain amout of time in every game or a high percentage of games. Lalas makes that seem likely when he said that Becks will need his rest.

This will be tough. I hope it works out, the MLS can't afford it not to.

Schadenfreude is not something any of us should feel if this deal doesn't make money, the MLS has too much invested and it effects all teams.

May every kid in Japan buy a Beckham galaxy jersey.

Posted by: bribri | June 19, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I heard we were pursuing Mastodon Juan, but the Metros were hanging on to him for a higher draft pick.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Brirbi is pot on. Lalas is acting and speaking as a general manager should. Some of his comments comparing MLS to EPL are ridiculous, but the fact that we're discussing them proves that Lalas has a good head for marketing. Come August, the world will be watching MLS to confirm their presumption that Beckham joined a bush league. Right or wrong is irrelevant, they will be watching MLS.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 19, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Mastodon Juan comment ... too funny.

Each of the stories linked to above, however, raises a bigger issue for the league. If Beckham, as the NYT article suggests, misses the first six MLS games after coming over here, doesn't that kill the hype? And what does it do to resale value of tickets bought and the hype for this year? At least he should, if healthy, be here and draw out all the 12 year old female soccer fans within a 500 mile radius.

Friend of mine says that a women's world cup game at Soldier Field in 1999 was the loudest he'd ever heard that stadium, and he grew up in Chicago. Of course, the pitch was higher than the referee's whistle, but ... just a warning for all you maniacs who are going to go.

Posted by: G-Unit | June 19, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Lalas is trying to cater the folks that wouldn't normally buy tickets, watch the games, buy the jerseys etc. It makes established fans roll there eyes, but it's not us that he needs to shell out the dough (we presumably already do).

Posted by: plc | June 19, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Lalas should have said that he's "very concerned" about David's health and is looking forward to hearing more about the situation.

Does he mention it? No, instead he says, "We've not had any indication on the nature of the injury." To me, this makes him sound as if he is not viewed as significant enough to be told about the injury.

From Beckham's side, I wouldn't tell him a single thing either. The guy just talks way too much just to keep his and the Galaxy's name in the press.

Unfortunately, that's the only way they'll get press because they sure aren't making any news with the way they're playing.

Posted by: TCompton | June 19, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I know this is off-topic, but just saw this piece.

It's a great read to explain what referees should be doing and also why refereeing is sometimes so bad in tournaments and league games with too many cards and fouls.

I also think it's ludicrous that we can't get someone who's reffed all over the world and has a FIFA white badge (meaning he's a middle referee for any game) onto an MLS field. Goff, can you go to the higher-ups?

Posted by: G-Unit | June 19, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Lalas is an embarassment. Has he brought any quality to the Galaxy or Red Balls? I doubt he had anything to do with bringing Becks to LA. Gimmick defender and a gimmick gm. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside to know that we have Kevin Payne.

Posted by: London Dan | June 19, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Right or wrong, I think Lalas was comparing the teams in the lower strata of the EPL with MLS. And he may not be too far off. But, comparing the the upper echelons to MLS would be foolish, and he certainly isn't afraid of that either.

That being said, does anyone think the top teams in MLS (whomever they may be in any given season) would survive and avoid relegation in the EPL? I think it's possible.

Posted by: SoyManya! | June 19, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Usually a snapping in the ankles is the ligaments popping. In David's case where the ankle was already swollen it could have been as simple as the ligaments popping over the bone. Hopefully it's not a severe tear or severing of the ligaments as he'd be out a LONNNNNNNGGG time.

Posted by: Drew-Roc | June 19, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

A good MLS team w/ 5-8 additional players (for depth) could compete in the EPL. Not WIN the EPL, but compete.

Posted by: DWE4 | June 19, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

We had this argument, in a way, months ago -- and none of us could even put MLS as a top 10 league.

Posted by: RK | June 19, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

"does anyone think the top teams in MLS (...) would survive and avoid relegation in the EPL"

It's possible for an MLS team to survive the EPL schedule, but it would not have the depth to survive the EPL + FA Cup + whatever they call the other cup.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 19, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Alexi Lalas is MLS' Dan Snyder. Always looking for the big score that will turn the tide, and ignoring the types of solid player development and chemistry that makes a winner. He can make a big splash, spend tons of money to build hype (which leads to jersey and ticket sales) but doesn't seem to be able to put together the winning combination. the people who tangentially follow the sport think he's doing great, because of all the press and the big signings, but the people who know what's going on just think he's wasting other people's money (at least Danny is spending his own money)

Posted by: northzax | June 19, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Garber needs to go "David Stern" on the idiotic Lalas (and other MLS franchise leaders that spew poop to the media). MLS are doing some great things under Garber's leadership, but he needs to tighten the reigns a bit. Concentrate on the stadiums, bringing in good players, developing young Americans, etc. Not putting the league out on a plank, where it will only be derided.

Posted by: Kev | June 19, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I think all Lalas was saying is there are a number of players in MLS who could hold their own in the EPL. I think all of us can agree on that since Simon Elliot was able to do it at Fulham and he was at best an average MLS player. Do we have a player the caliber of C. Ronaldo, Rooney, Drogba, Gerrard, etc.? No, but neither does most of the premiership. Lalas didn't word this the best, but don't forget the British press is really good at sensationalizing these things. Plus his comments were probably in response to a number of questions demeaning the league which got him a bit pissed off as I'm sure it would all of us who care about MLS.

Posted by: dwbpnm | June 19, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"I heard we were pursuing Mastodon Juan, but the Metros were hanging on to him for a higher draft pick."

Even I am better than Facundo Erpen.

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | June 19, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse


actually it suits the league well to have one off the handle mouthpiece with money to burn who makes waves. Sure, people think he's an idiot, but he does get press, and he does get international attention for the league with his comments and signings.

let the other 12 teams work on player development and finding diamonds in the rough, it does the league no harm to have a team signing internationals and not dominating. Let's see if Becks is healthy on August 8: the soccer world will be watching as he comes to RFK, a player still courted by Real Madrid, starting for England, and losing (hopefully) to United. this isn't a Pele moment, Becks at full strength can't save the Galaxy, and that is a good thing for the league in the eyes of the world. it means the league is getting good enough to absorb stars, and even potentially produce them, without being dominated by one or two. Five years ago, Becks at this stage would have probably been the best player on the field by a country mile, a man playing with boys in most cases (not all) now the league as a whole is much better, and the talent gap won't be as obvious to the world. and that's a good thing.

Posted by: northzax | June 19, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

For the sake of argument, can you put together a starting 11 of former MLS players (not necessarily American) currently or very recently in the EPL? I have 10.

Bocanegra, Nelsen, Gibbs
Beasley, Convey, Dempsey, Elliot, Reyna

I may have to start either Hahnemann, Freidel as a field player.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 19, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

11:01 AM:

yes, no question that a team like DCU could survive relegation most of the time. not, as you say, FA and Carling Cup as well, but remember, with the $30,000,000 in TV revenue sharing, a deeper bench is certainly possible.

Posted by: northzax | June 19, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Oops, forgot Angel (smacking my forehead).

Anway, this lineup partially validates Lalas' over-the-top comments. So here you are, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Alexi Lalas All-Star EPL team, sponsored by Sikorsky Helicopters.

Bocanegra, Nelsen, Gibbs
Beasley, Convey, Dempsey, Elliot, Reyna
McBride, Angel

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 19, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

The English writers (and the AP wire) are blowing things out of proportion. The Lalas interview can be found here:,,2105972,00.html

I don't think Lalas is saying that MLS and the EPL are equivalent. I do think, as some have already pointed out, that he believes that there are MLS players who can go to the EPL and do fine. His language in describing this (the helicopter stuff) is a bit over the top and poorly phrased (leading to the suggestion that Lalas believes that MLS and the EPL are equivalent).

BTW, Lalas prefers La Liga, which I must admit is a better overall league than the EPL.

Posted by: highbury | June 19, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

270 if you want a standard 4 in the back you can add Xavier

Posted by: dwbpnm | June 19, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for the -real- article. It puts all of those statements in a better perspective.

And yes, La Liga es mejor que el EPL.

Posted by: RK | June 19, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Snyder runs the most valued franchise ($1.1 billion or so) in US professional sports. His teams competitive, but nothing special. I can only dream that Lalas will turn LA into a financial windfall while still managing to keep them worse than DCU.

Posted by: dancy | June 19, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Juan, your comment is fitting for this group on so many levels and really made me smile.

northzax, your second comment is right on regarding the ability of MLS to absorb a quality player.

Your first greatly underestimates the incompetence of Dan Snyder in the first few years as an owner. Thankfully he's now approaching ownership more business-like and the off-season circus is down to 2 rings from 3 this year. And I'm with dancy.

Posted by: LeesburgSoccerFan | June 19, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Lalas is an idiot for real, saying MLS equals premier league quality?"

"...told British newspapers that Major League Soccer is on a par with the Premier League."

That's not what he said, the way I read it. The British papers, as usual, put two and two together and get five. He said there are "a bunch" of MLS players who could step right into the Premiership. Very true. He also said the EPL is not the world's greatest league, but it has done a good job of marketing itself as such. Also true. He also said that the MLS is more "competitive," because there aren't two or four teams that dominate every single year. Also true.

Lalas does say a lot of silly, sensational things that tend to get attention. Remember when the Metros were going to be a "super-club"? But for the same reason I think he's great for the league. I doubt anyone else would have been crazy enough to get Beckham.

Lastly: It's time for Lalas and MLS to start saying a few cautious things, to prepare the public for the remote possibility that Beckham's first game in MLS might turn out to be next year.

Posted by: Joe S. | June 19, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Joe, great argument, except that you used "the MLS". Automatic disqualification. ;)

Posted by: RK | June 19, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Absent from your list in EPL
1) Gooch, Spector, DeMerit

In 1st Div:
1) Simek, Whitbread, Lewis

Oops, forgot Angel (smacking my forehead).

Bocanegra, Nelsen, Gibbs
Beasley, Convey, Dempsey, Elliot, Reyna
McBride, Angel

Posted by: d | June 19, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Absent from your list in EPL
1) Gooch, Spector, DeMerit

In 1st Div:
1) Simek, Whitbread, Lewis

Oops, forgot Angel (smacking my forehead).

Bocanegra, Nelsen, Gibbs
Beasley, Convey, Dempsey, Elliot, Reyna
McBride, Angel

Posted by: d | June 19, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

oh, former MLS players, ignore my accidental, incorrect double post . . ugh.

Posted by: d | June 19, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Leesburg and Dancy:

obviously the scale is different. But let's not forget that the Galaxy are rumoured to be the first MLS team to turn a profit last year, I would argue with that market, the sponsors and the Home Depot Center they are probably the most valuable team in MLS, if they were wholly for sale (so that's an equivalent)

my point was really with the constant inflow of players, aging stars who are signing for more money than anyone else will give them, and replacing young and coming players with older, more established stars, over and over again, even mid-season. no one else tinkers with their lineup like this all season (sure, DCU signs the odd developmental player, but that's a good strategy, the Galaxy sign stars, mid-season, coming off of foreign seasons) then consider the complete irrelevance of anything resembling a salary cap to each team, they are giants at massaging the cap and getting what they want.

the Galaxy are not a soccer team, they are first a marketing vehicle (right now) a mediocre (at best) team that generates lots of revenue and publicity, but underperforms on the pitch. but it doesn't really matter how they do on the pitch this year, there's always next year when the stars will finally align. this was the point of my comparing Lalas to Snyder. The Galaxy have the highest payroll, the highest revenues and the most press (especially in the non-Soccer-specific media) Just like the Skins, with a couple of zeros missing.

Posted by: northzax | June 19, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse


this isn't an MLS list, Gooch, Spector and Demerit never played in MLS (although Demerit and Spector at least trained in PDL for the Fire, dunno if they ever made an appearance).

Posted by: northzax | June 19, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

It seems very international to have a club official say something controversial and rather silly. Maybe he's just trying to get headlines.

At least there's someone in MLS who is willing to defend the product. Good for him.

Posted by: Hacksaw | June 19, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

My two cents, Lalas shouldn't have even mentioned the "EPL" (another automatic disqualification, ghastly acronym). Just speak nicely of and (yes) defend our league, but don't even bother baiting the foreign media into the comparison game. The semiotics of the Lalas quotes are aside from the mistake he originally makes in bringing on the discussion.

Posted by: Kev | June 19, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

dwbpnm: thanks for Xavier. We'll start him in a 4-4-2 and have more than just the GKs on the bench.

I deliberately excluded Beckham because he's at the center of the argument and skews it in MLS' favor.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 19, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

EPL = MLS+ Beckham

Posted by: US Soccer fan | June 19, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

To round out the All-MLS first 11: Stern John (currently with Sunderland)
Guess we'll see if he actually makes the jump to Keano's prem squad, but he wouldn't be too bad playing off of McHead.

Posted by: d, dc | June 19, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Shaun Bartlett, who did nothing for Colorado and New York, scored 43 goals in 160+ appearances for Charlton after leaving MLS.

Posted by: Hoost | June 19, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if we're including former EPL players, what about Harksie and Moreno? And Ben Iroha (he was still at Watford in their 99/00 Premiership season).

Posted by: winterbadger | June 19, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"Hey, if we're including former EPL players, what about Harksie and Moreno? And Ben Iroha (he was still at Watford in their 99/00 Premiership season)."

I don't know if you (or Jaime himself) would want to bring up his stint at Middlesbrough.

Posted by: Kev | June 19, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey Mastodon Juan---

How did you enjoy that 4-1 victory??

Posted by: Rocko | June 19, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Let's give it up to Luciano Emilio for winning the MLS player of the week. That is now two weeks in a row that DC United player has won the award. Go United!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: DC United Fan | June 19, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I suppose you can define "recently in the EPL" however you want. Jaime, at 11 years out of the EPL, isn't. Harkes and Joe-Max are retired. My goal was to see if Lalas' argument for the quality of helicopter-borne MLS players holds water. I think we've collected a decent, albeit shallow, roster. Including retired players is takes the argument from the internet level to the playground level :-).

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | June 19, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

You forgot Stern John

Posted by: another playa | June 19, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

You forgot Stern John

Posted by: another playa | June 19, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I just read the Guardian interview. Okay, you guys are right that he never said that MLS is as good as EPL. The problem is that it's impossible to read the interview without seeing that Alexi made a fool of himself. The treacherous Brit media gave him enough rope to hang himself, and he kindly obliged. Don't you guys see that?

Posted by: Mitch | June 19, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

don't let him back to madrid. he's a gold mine and such a wonderful player.

Posted by: | June 20, 2007 3:07 AM | Report abuse

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