MLS CUP: Beckham's bend just the start

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
1:48
PM PT
CARSON -- The Galaxy's attack relies so much on David Beckham's service, quite understandable given the quality of that service.

The English star has been renowned primarily for his golden right foot, which can deliver balls over distance to specified points with uncanny accuracy. Think of NFL quarterbacks throwing bombs, but doing so with their feet, and you've got Beckham.

They even named a movie after Beckham's skill set, but Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall said heading into Sunday's MLS Cup final against L.A. at Home Depot Center that it's not necessarily the movement he puts on the ball that's so damaging.

“It's not so much the type of bend, it's the speed that he plays it in [and] that Beckham plays it in to good spots,” said Hall, who turned down the Galaxy in 2007 to play in Denmark, then joined the Dynamo in 2009. “Trust me, he could take away the bend and still put it in a good spot. ...

“All his crosses and passes are hit with confidence, so they've got to where they're supposed to go in a hurry. You take away one second of flight time, that doesn't sound like a lot, but, for me, that could be the difference between coming [out to grab or punch the ball] or staying on my line. He's the best in the world at that.”

Houston coach Dominic Kinnear agrees with the assessment. He was asked about Beckham's “limited” skill set, that Beckham's delivery always is right-footed, and he's not particularly fast, so why is it so hard to stop hm?

“Good players can always get open, whether they're the fastest player on the field or whether they're not,” Kinnear said. “You look at [early MLS great and former teammate] Carlos Valderrama. I don't remember him sprinting by anybody, by if you look how many times he had the ball ... smart players know how to get open.

“If you look at David Beckham, sometimes he drifts wide to get [the ball], and he comes deep to get it, and, let's be honest, that limited skill set, as you say, has performed unbelievably for a long period of time. I still think, for my money, if you give him time, he's the best passer of the ball over long distances in the world today. You can't take away that quality that he has.”

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