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Friday, November 18, 2011
GALAXY: Beckham sits out again

By Scott French

CARSON -- David Beckham missed Galaxy training again Friday, still suffering, according to coach Bruce Arena, from that pesky “cold” -- but talk that it's really a hamstring injury won't go away.


Arena used the “cold” excuse when he talked for the TV cameras following L.A.'s session at Home Depot Center, noting that he he doesn't “think David needs to train” and that “believe me, David will play on Sunday” in the MLS Cup final against Houston.

He was more succinct with the “print” media.

What's the latest on David?

“He'll be playing Sunday.”

We're hearing about a hamstring. Is there anything to that?

“He'll be playing Sunday.”

Is there anything to his hamstring?

“Yep, he does have hamstrings.”

Is it OK?

“Yep, he'll be playing Sunday.”

Beckham had been scheduled to speak Friday, but his media session was canceled.

English media covering the match, citing sources in the “Beckham camp,” reported the supposed hamstring ailment. Beckham was asked about his health during the official MLS Cup news conference Thursday and said he was fine, that he would be ready Sunday and that he had been held out of training earlier in the day as a “precaution” by the “medical staff.”

Is this something the Galaxy, or their fans, should be worried about? Could be.

If Beckham is carrying a hamstring injury and it's going to keep him out of the game, the earliest anyone will know, we imagine, is when lineups are turned in about 90 minutes before kickoff. If he's injured but can play, we'll know more about it after the game. If it really is just a cold, well ... nobody's buying that line.

Arena, finally, was asked if he thought Beckham would practice Saturday. His response: "Yeah."

KEANE'S PARTNER: Robbie Keane doesn't care who he's paired with up top for the Galaxy. “That's the manager's choice,” he said Friday. “It's not like I haven't played with the lads who play in front anyway.”

With starter Chad Barrett out with a dislocated foot, Arena either will replace Barrett with someone similar (Adam Cristman) or someone small and sneaky (Paolo Cardozo, a true midfielder, appears likeliest) or shift the midfield around and push Landon Donovan or Mike Magee up top.

“Whoever will play, I'm sure we can make it work,” Keane said. “And whoever gets the nod to play will be desperate to do well because it's a final.”

Miguel Lopez is uncertain after missing training Friday with a muscle strain near his hip and abdomen. Arena said he was hurt last week -- “from doing too much work in the gym” -- and aggravated it in training this week.

GOOD WEEK: Keane on Tuesday captained Ireland to its first European Championship appearance since 1988 and its first major  tournament since the 2002 World Cup. Now he's playing for a trophy. Not a bad week, eh?

“I must be the only person who's played six playoff games in 2˝ weeks,” said Keane, who is coming off two against Estonia for the Irish and is heading into his fourth playoff game with L.A. since Oct. 30. “Obviously, with the Irish team was great. We haven't qualified in 24 year in the European Championship, obviously we qualified for the World Cup 10 years ago. So as you can imaging, the whole place is on a high at the moment.

“Now I'm back here and have another final four days later, so if we win Sunday, the week couldn't go any better for me.”

This is Keane's second cup final of his career. The first was the 2008 English League Cup final, in February 2008, when he helped Tottenham beat cross-London rival Chelsea, 2-1, at Wembley Stadium.

“That was a great occasion, for Tottenham to play against one of their rivals,” he said. “Chelsea were kind of on top of their game, and we were obviously the underdogs, but we won it, so that was a great occasion.”

The MLS Cup final, Keane says, is as meaningful.

“That's why you play football, to be involved in games like this,” he said. “Every single player wants to be involved in the big game -- it doesn't get any bigger that this over here. ... It's going to be a good day, but it's only going to be a good day if you win.”

WORTH NOTING: Brad Davis said he awoke to text messages informing him he had not won MLS's MVP award. Houston's injured winger was runner-up to his former Dynamo/San Jose Earthquakes teammate Dwayne De Rosario, a D.C. United attacker. “I like Dwayne -- he's a good guy, a good player,” Davis said. “I've got nothing against him. He's not the one who voted or anything.” ... Davis' reaction to the news: “I was disappointed. That's something you want to win, there's no question about it. I'm happy for Dwayne; I think he finished the year on an unbelievably strong note. I'm happy for him but also disappointed I didn't win it, because I felt  had a pretty good shot.”