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Saturday, May 14, 2011
GALAXY: Becks targets victory in return

By Scott French

David Beckham
David Beckham and his Galaxy mates are looking to finish an opponent off.

David Beckham watched his Galaxy teammates give up a late equalizer Wednesday at Philadelphia from the comfort of his home, left behind to rest as L.A. delves more deeply into a congested schedule that will surely test its depth.


Doesn't mean he liked it, and he sure wasn't happy with the finish, but the English midfielder is enthused by the Galaxy's form and is looking to return to the lineup Saturday night with a win over Sporting Kansas City at Home Depot Center.

A victory would end a three-game winless streak that has been prolonged by the Galaxy's difficulty in finishing its chances, a recurring theme through the first two months of the Major League Soccer season.

“We have to finish teams off,” Beckham said Friday. “We're not winning as many games as we'd like to. The biggest thing is finishing teams off. We're playing well, but we need to get that second or third goal.”

L.A. has scored more than once just twice, in successive wins April 17 at Chicago (2-1) and April 23 at home against Portland (3-0). They've had four 1-1 draw, all results that would have been different had the Galaxy been more clinical in front of the net.

Beckham noted last week's draw with New York.

“In the first half, we found a way of getting through them,” he said, “and once we found that, we had three or four or five really good chances, and we didn't put them away, and, obviously, it costs you at the end of the day.

“So we have to find a way of beating teams and keeping pressure up for the full 90 minutes. Because the game is about 90 minutes, and more sometimes, and you have to play through that.”

With Beckham sitting out, Galaxy coach Bruce Arena changed up his system, turning his usually fairly flat 4-4-2 alignment into a 4-3-1-2, with Landon Donovan sitting underneath forwards Juan Pablo Angel and Miguel Lopez. They were dominant most of the night, but a poor back pass from Sean Franklin gifted Philly catalyst Danny Mwanga an 83rd-minute goal, and the returned home with one point rather than three,

“It's always difficult watching games you want to be in involved in,” Beckham said. “I think the guys did well. I think it shows the strength of our squad, because we had [different] players going in and a new formation, as well, and I think that was the positive side of it.”

He says he's ready for Sporting, that he feels “a lot better than [I] would have been if I would have been traveling,” but that he still would prefer to have been on the field.

“I always want to be playing in games. I'll always fight to play in games,” he said. “But sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say maybe I do need a rest. Manager always decides that, and it's always his final decision.

“It was the same [at Manchester United] when Sir Alex Ferguson used to pull us into his office and say, 'You're not playing today,' and you used to argue with him, but you never got anywhere.”

MISSING: Center backs Leonardo and Sean Alvarado are out for the year with torn knee ligaments. Forward Adam Cristman, questionable as he returns from a knee injury, is the only other player on the league injury report.

WORTH NOTING: Donovan has scored the last five L.A. goals. … The Galaxy hasn't beaten Kansas City since 2008, and they didn't score last year going 0-1-1 against the Wizards, who have have won their past three games at HDC, including a 3-2 decision over Chivas USA in a March 19 opener. … L.A. (4-2-5), which will be more than a third through its regular-season schedule at game's end, is atop the Western Conference with 17 points, two ahead of Real Salt Lake (5-1-0) and three in front of Colorado (4-3-2). RSL is home against Houston; the Rapids play at D.C. United.

THE OPPONENT



SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Head coach

Three key players

Current form/prospects

Local connections

Missing

THE GAME



At Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m.
TV:
Fox Sports West
Radio: K-Talk (KTLK/1150) and ESPN Deportes (KWKW/1330, Spanish)
Referee: Baldomero Toledo