November 22nd, 2009
08:15 PM ET

Beckham looks for trio of titles

How many players would be able to say they’ve won football league titles in 3 different countries?

David Beckham celebrates with LA Galaxy team-mate Landon Donovan.
David Beckham celebrates with LA Galaxy team-mate Landon Donovan.

After taking trophies in England and Spain, that’s the task of David Beckham come Sunday, when the Los Angeles Galaxy face Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup Final.

It’s on ESPN at 830 pm ET here in the United States – and get this – it’s also on live at 1.30 am local in London – on the UK version of ESPN. Anyone staying up to support your native son? In fact, our friends at Major League Soccer tell us the match is being broadcast in 122 countries around the globe.  

I’m not going to carry on here about the Beckham Experiment, the troubles with Landon Donovan and the Galaxy fans.

With the boos ringing loud, Beckham came back to a good Galaxy team, and made them better.  Before Becks – six wins, 3 draws, 2 losses. With Becks – six wins, 3 draws, 2 losses, first place in the Western Conference, surviving the knockout round playoffs for a berth in US soccer’s biggest match.

So we can validate what Becks means to the LA Galaxy. But has he raised the profile of US Soccer?  I think so, but I’m too close to it, and I need your help. Please sound off below.

Here’s what we know: Major League Soccer has set a new record for attendance during these 2009 Playoffs matches. One of the highest TV ratings ever for Major League Soccer was last Friday’s Galaxy v Dynamo match from Los Angeles, even though it kicked off at 1130 pm East Coast time. When the Galaxy hosted Barcelona this summer, the crowd was the biggest at any soccer match globally since the 1994 World Cup.

My own barometer? An increasing amount of people from all walks of life here in the CNN Center were getting excited about “World Cup Wednesday” and dialing us to tell where they might be able to keep an eye on the matches while at work. I can feel the increased interest in soccer in my immediate proximity. Can I pin it all on Beckham? No, but my feeling is that his presence has only helped grow the sport here, not hurt it.

Let’s look at what Sunday’s MLS Cup Final will be up against on American TV.  Oh no, the NFL! American football, especially the National Football League, is a ratings monster, all but devouring everything in its path. And it’s Philadelphia at Chicago (at 8pm ET), two major markets.  Can Beckham make a dent? I hope so.

Throw-ins:

Has anyone played more football in 2009 than David Beckham? 18 for Milan, about to be 17 for the Galaxy, and seven for England.

Any irony, maybe irony isn’t the right word – to the fact the Galaxy are facing “REAL” Salt Lake, a name based on Beckham’s former team in Spain?

The match will be played on an artificial pitch in at Seattle’s Quest Stadium, the first MLS Cup final to not be contested on real grass. (Real Salt Lake has never won away from home on an artificial pitch in 11 tries.)

Prediction: Galaxy 3, Real Salt Lake 1

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. dan

    the beckham experiment is a success. the news it has generated in the last 2 years are all due to david beckham. i can still remember the more than 60,00 souls that paid quality money just to get a glimpe of david in new york for a soccer game. with that one event last year, i would say the investment is all worth it. now that the galaxy is on the treshold of winning the mls, i would definitely say that david beckham is all worth the money.

    November 23, 2009 at 1:32 am | Reply
  2. BNB

    The article was interesting, but your stats relating to Beckham & LA Galaxy are incorrect.

    You state that, "Before Becks – six wins, 3 draws, 2 losses. With Becks – six wins, 3 draws, 2 losses". Not true.

    The stats are: Before Becks – five wins, nine draws, three losses. With Becks – seven wins, three draws, three losses.

    He is world class and he made a difference to LA's quality of play. It's good to see that he's healthy and playing well. Shame about the outcome of last night's match v. RSL. I very much thought that LA was going to take it. Next year, eh?

    I now look forward to DB continuing to do well with AC Milan and to helping England in WC 2010 in South Africa. It will just add to the storybook nature of his career and life.

    Note: Oh yeah, David...lose that Flowbee / Vegematic haircut. Yikes!

    November 23, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  3. William

    lots of players have won in 3 different countries, though most not in the US. The lack of the connection this article has with such an acknowledgement is the sign of what is wrong with MLS: No connection to how soccer has been played for decades all around the world.

    November 25, 2009 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  4. trevon

    yeah the beckamania is on point and hola hola LAG AND a la beckham
    man this dude is a real professional , i love it though.

    November 26, 2009 at 9:18 am | Reply
  5. MKhreuz

    When you guys get it right – then and only then will you be able to make the connection with how FOOTBALL, as the rest of the world know it [not soccer] is been played for decades around the world.

    Beckham is a very good player and I think he has done a whole lot for the image of FOOTBALL in the USA...

    November 27, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  6. Partite Calcio Gratis

    It's good to see that he's healthy and playing well. I can still remember the more than 60,00 souls that paid quality money just to get a glimpe of david in new york for a soccer game. Here's an article on Beckham http://partitecalciogratis.wordpress.com/

    February 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Reply

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