LA, FCD play to scoreless draw
Beckham's debut at Pizza Hut Park overshadowed by 100th cap talk
By Steve Hunt / MLSnet.com Staff
"I think we played an excellent game," Galaxy head coach Ruud Gullit said. "For most of the game, I think we dominated. I think we created some excellent chances also. I think several of the youngsters did well today and that was great experience for them at this level. It's still a matter of looking for the right shape."
Much of the capacity crowd came to see L.A. star midfielder David Beckham, who was making his first appearance in Frisco. He was scheduled to play last July in a SuperLiga match but was unable to make the trip because of an ankle injury, leaving scores of disappointed fans in north Texas.
"David (Beckham) played well," Gullit said. "He's an excellent player and a great example for the other players on the team, especially the youngsters. He has the experience we need to bring the youngsters to a new level. He made some excellent passes but we couldn't convert any of them. I think he played excellently."
All told, Beckham took eight free kicks for the Galaxy and countless other free kicks. Several of those resulted in great scoring chances. In the 19th minute, he found midfielder Alvaro Pires off a corner but his header went wide right.
Then in the 34th minute, Beckham floated a great ball off a free kick to Landon Donovan, who was near the Hoops' far post. Donovan then had the presence of mind to head the ball back toward the goal, where Abel Xavier was waiting but his header was tipped over the crossbar by FCD goalkeeper Dario Sala, resulting in another corner for the visiting side.
Following the match, Beckham was pleased with how his Pizza Hut Park debut turned out.
"It was a good game," he said. "I think we played some good football.
At times, we played through them quite easily and created a lot of chances. But when you don't finish chances, it's always going to be a close game. I think that both teams performed well but I think that we edged it because we had so many chances and could have scored. It was great being here in Dallas. I enjoyed the game."
England national team assistant coach Franco Baldini was in attendance to gauge Beckham's fitness in advance of England's match with France on March 26 in Paris, which would be the 100th cap of his international career, but Beckham didn't feel pressured a bit.
"I think it's just like Premiership games when he goes to games there with Fabio Capello," Beckham said. He's obviously going to see how my fitness is and how my form is. It's only natural that's going to happen. There's no added pressure on my side.
"I just had to go out there and perform. I had to play the balls that I can play and work hard. I enjoyed the game tonight. It was a great game on a nice pitch before a majority of nice fans.
I got stick from some of them but that's normal. That's part of being a player for your national team. You're always being watched by somebody. It comes with the job."
Gullit employed a lineup featuring a mix of veterans along with a few youngsters and, overall, was pleased with how the evening turned out.
"You want immediate results but that's something you can't get," he said. "The youngsters have to have experience the older players have to help them out a lot. It's OK to play a lot of youngsters but you have to have patience."
But one positive for the Galaxy boss was the number of chances his side created on the offensive end.
"You always look at the creative side," Gullit said. "The most important thing is to build a good foundation. It all builds up from the defense and midfield to up front. We're not yet where we want to be but hopefully, slowly we will get there."
The Galaxy open the 2008 MLS season on March 29 at Colorado (5:30 p.m