LA Galaxy superstar David Beckham returned to the pitch Saturday night against the Columbus Crew and his arrival back to the MLS made for a few fascinating storylines. First off, it is pretty unbelievable how quickly Sir Golden Balls recovered from that devastating knee injury this spring on loan with AC Milan. The second fascinating issue regarding Beck’s return to the American league was how full of crap his league coach Bruce Arena is.
Just earlier in the week Beckham was removed from the six week long disabled list. The Englishman expressed his desire to play this weekend, but admitted that his goal was simply to dress out for the match on the 18 man roster. The former Manchester United man did hint at the fact that he hoped to play late in the match, but his main emphasis was on simply dressing out and being a member of the squad on the side’s bench.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena, on the other hand, sang a very different tune then the football icon’s. The coach stressed that just because Becks was activated that he certainly wasn’t considered active. The former US national team coach expressed the importance in his highest paid player rehabilitating his injury fully before receiving any minutes on the pitch and also suggested that such a notion would not likely happen for some time. Arena explained that the star was taken off of the disabled list simply because his six week window had ended and the coach even proposed that Beckham might not be able to return until the end of September.
Well Ithink it is safe to say that the coach lied or over-exaggerated the star’s current status. Becks played around 20 minutes in his first available match and although he did not setup a goal or score himself (he did receive an immediate yellow card five minutes in though), he was out there and is apparently at full health or nearly there if not 100%.
And did Arena pull a fast one on Columbus in order to use the Englishman as an ace up his sleeve or did he really not know the player’s status when he spoke?
I think when you have as much money as LA has invested in the midfielder that the issue of evaluating health would be fully known heading into the critical weekend match (which the Galaxy won by the way 3-1). Perhaps Beckham is the master of convincing coaches to get his way or perhaps Arena fibbed a bit to the media in order to keep the player’s return and first MLS minutes of the season under wraps. But anyway you look at the scenario Beckham is back. And Bruce Arena knows that having Becks healthy again and an active member of the squad is the best shot he has at taking home the MLS Cup.
And isn’t that the only truth that Arena should really care about?