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Galaxy need Beckham's golden touch

sports Updated: Jun 19, 2007 14:31 IST
Simon Evans

David Beckham will be relieved that US domestic soccer doesn't have a system of relegation - otherwise his first season in Major League Soccer might be a fight to avoid the drop.

While Beckham was winning the Spanish title with Real Madrid and making a successful return to the England team, his new club LA Galaxy have made a dreadful start to the season winning just two of their opening nine matches.

Galaxy are next to bottom of the six-team MLS Western Conference and only managed to end nearly two months without a win with a narrow 3-2 victory over bottom club Real Salt Lake on Sunday.

In the MLS, the best eight teams from Eastern and Western conferences go through to the play-off stages and Beckham's first season in the US, due to begin in August, could be a very short affair unless his team can turn their campaign around.

Sunday's win came after five games without a victory for Frank Yallop's side who have had to cope with a series of injuries and the loss of their main striker, Landon Donovan who has been performing for the US in the Gold Cup.

Little stability

Canadian pair Ante Jazic and Kevin Harmse have also been on international duty -- they will line up against the US in Thursday's semi-final -- but even when at full-strength there has been little continuity or stability in the Galaxy squad.

There are only three players in the current squad who have been with the team for more than two full seasons and club president and general manager Alexi Lalas has been busy bringing in new faces.

Against Salt Lake, five players made their first appearances of the season including two new signings - striker Edson Buddle who scored on his debut following his move from Toronto and widely-travelled Portuguese defender Abel Xavier, who recently played for Middleborough in England.

While victory, on the day that Beckham was ending his Spanish career with a league title, was a welcome boost for Galaxy, coach Yallop, formerly a defender with English club Ipswich Town, said much remained to be improved.

"We have a lot of work to do in certain areas. I'm happy all around but now we need to regroup and get ready for our game next Saturday. It's nice to have a smile on my face for a change," he said.

Galaxy play Columbus Crew, bottom of the Eastern Conference, on Saturday in an intra-conference game.