Thursday, May 12, 2011

Beckham Resting... Or Not?

Is David Beckham injured? Is that why he missed the Galaxy's match at Philadelphia on Wednesday?

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said Beckham was left behind to rest up his aging body. Beckham of course just turned 36 years and has logged a lot of air miles this year already, what with having spent the first part of 2011 training with Tottenham and having participated in the Royal Wedding at the end of April.

It makes sense, right? Rest up your star midfielder, leave him at home for a ridiculously-scheduled midweek match clear across the country and save him for the home match coming up.

I can't really believe much of anything Bruce Arena says these days, however. When it comes to injuries or rest or anything of that nature, Arena has as much credibility as News of the World, although perhaps not quite as outlandish.

Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts was injured during a friendly on March 2. He did not train the week after (the final full week of the preseason) and when we asked Arena about Ricketts' possible availability for the season opener against Seattle, Arena was adamant that Ricketts' injury was "nothing."

Ricketts missed the first three games of the season.

On April 5 and 6, Landon Donovan did not practice with the club. When we asked Bruce Arena about Donovan's absence, he seemed a little agitated that we would even ask - I mean, why bother asking if the team's captain and possible MVP isn't around, right? But we asked and Arena, seemingly irritated, said "he doesn't need to be out here for this" - this meaning practice.

Queue Allen Iverson - We're talkin' 'bout practice, man.

Donovan, of course, was coming off having played two games with the U.S. national team and had played all 90 minutes in the Galaxy's 1-0 win over Philadelphia on April 2. I asked Arena if the decision to rest Donovan was made before the Philly match or if it was made as a result of the game. Arena said they had two choices - not play him against Philly or give him a couple days of rest, and he left it at that. That, to me, seems like it was a predetermined decision.

Turned out, Donovan was not only injured but was injured to the point that he missed three consecutive matches. Donovan picked up an injury during the Philadelphia match and had he not, he presumably would not have rested at all and would have made the Galaxy's three-game road swing.

So now Arena is talking about resting Beckham and I wonder if he's just selling us all a bill of goods once more.

Does it really make sense to rest Beckham? If anyone should be rested, it should be Donovan. He's going to have the Gold Cup to deal with in June and will be logging a lot of travel miles as a result of it. Maybe spare Donovan the six-hour flight from LA to Philly and take Beckham instead. Becks after all isn't having any participation with England this summer. Or maybe rest Angel; maybe a little rest can get him back to scoring goals and being an actual threat.

I'm in a wait-and-see mode on Beckham. Maybe he needed some extra time to recover from the match.

But Arena's even been dodgy about Beckham's fitness this season. He claimed that Beckham was fine with Tottenham, that he wasn't missing anything, that Beckham's fitness was ahead of where he would have been had he been with the Galaxy during the preseason but after the Galaxy's game against Philly on April 2, Arena said Beckham was finally getting to the place he needed to be fitness-wise.

Is Beckham injured? Is he merely resting?

I guess we'll all have to wait and see.

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