It was a week ago that David Beckham made a promise to return to action for Bruce Arena's Los Angeles Galaxy against Robert Warzycha's Columbus Crew on September 11, 2010.
Fast forward a week: it looks like he is set to make due on his guarantee after taking part in an accelerated training session on Tuesday.
“You can tell he has that competitiveness back,” Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant said. “When you come back from something that long, you’re kind of careful at first. Now he’s over that. It’s given us a boost. Anytime you can add someone like David Beckham to their team at this stage of the season is going to be a big plus for you.”
If Beckham does make his return to action against Columbus, it would be earlier than expected. During training, Beckham went through drills that restored his strength and agility while the rest of the team played short-sided games. Eventually, he participated in full training sessions with the club.
Arena, however, opted to ease him into action instead of rushing him in.
“Having a player of that quality around is huge. It makes a difference,” Arena said earlier this week. “Therefore, that’s why we’re hopeful we get him to a point where he can get on the field and help us this year.”
“I think it’s up to him and the coaching staff to realize where David’s at,” Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez said. “If it’s still hurting him, another game won’t hurt to sit him out but if he’s ready to go, it’s all up to him."
Beckham would be available on September 16 against D.C. United if Arena chooses not to place the England international on the bench this week.
“We’ve got to be good professionals and do our job,” Dunivant said. “If he does get some time, it will be great. If he doesn’t, he’ll be ready the next week I’m sure. David is the ultimate competitor and he’ll want to be out there.”
Kickoff for the match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Columbus Crew is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. PT and can be seen on tape delay at 9:30 p.m. PT on Fox Sports West.
Ins and Outs
350 Minutes of Futility Down the Drain
Omar Gonzalez's goal on Saturday against the Chicago Fire ended a goalless streak that lasted 350 minutes.
This streak is the third-longest in MLS this year and the second-longest in club history; only the Kansas City Wizards (402 minutes) and D.C. United (352 minutes) have gone longer without scoring a goal in the league this season.
Los Angeles' record for the longest span without a goal in 525 minutes, from April 29 to June 3 of the 2006 season.
Juninho Is a Go
If Beckham is not available to be on the bench Saturday against the Crew, Juninho will definitely be available for action. Juninho has missed the last two games while attending to personal matters in his native Brazil.
Currently, Juninho has appeared in and started 18 games for the club. The 21-year-old Brazilian has a goal and two assists, while also adding a goal in the U.S. Open Cup win over AC St. Louis on June 29.
Over the four games missed, the Galaxy have only mustered a 1-2-1 record.
Could Another Dry Spell End on Saturday?
Victoria Street's home field advantage has been lacking in more ways than one for the G's.
The Galaxy are 0-3-1 at The Home Depot Center since a 3-1 win over Seattle on July 4, including 0-2-1 in the league.
With the defeats to Kansas City and Chicago, the Galaxy have now lost consecutive home games in the league for the first time since 2007.
The only time that LA dropped three or more consecutive home games was in 2006, where they lost four straight from April 22 to June 8.
Stephens on the Bench
Michael Stephens, after playing in LA's first 22 games of the 2010 Major League Soccer campaign, was an unused substitute. The 21-year-old rookie was the only player to appear in the Galaxy's first 22 games and was on track to become the second straight rookie to appear in all 30 MLS matches this season.
The UCLA graduate is now tied with Omar Gonzalez for the most games played on the team this season, each appearing in 22 games. Stephens has one goal and seven assists to go with 18 starts and 1,629 minutes, good for fourth-most on the team.