LA's Arena addresses Beckham's availability vs. Dallas
CARSON, Calif. — We know where David Beckham will be Friday: at the London Olympics' Opening Ceremonies, in which he will play a role that he cannot divulge — one for which he told ABC's Nightline he is “really honored.”
Next day: Dallas?
It seems implausible, but LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena insists that it's possible his biggest star could be on the field for Saturday night's clash with FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas (8 pm ET, NBCSN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Asked Thursday if Beckham was a no-go, Arena responded: “It hasn't been finalized.”
WATCH: Beckham's whirlwind travels
So he might play?
“It hasn't been finalized.”
OK, but he's in London . . .
“This is a modern era,” explained Arena, who will definitely not have for the services of his captain, Landon Donovan, serving a suspension for yellow-card accumulation. “It can be done real quick, with the technology and transportation options you have.”
Certainly, it can be done. Beckham (above with British PM David Cameron) has played following overnights from Europe on several occasions, but even the most experienced jet-setter, a class that includes the Englishman, would be pushed to the limit by his schedule the past week.
He traveled from Los Angeles to London following the Galaxy's SuperClasico win last Saturday night over Chivas USA for a promotional appearance in advance of the Olympics, then flew to Philadelphia and played 70-plus minutes in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game against Chelsea, then jetted back to London for the Friday night's big Olympic kickoff.
Add in another jaunt to Dallas, and he'll have flown more than 17,000 miles and spent 36 hours or so in the air or airports.
Beckham, who was part of the team that brought the Olympics to London and has served in an ambassadorial role for the organizing committee, has said he plans to catch a few events while in London, which likely would preclude an hour-and-a-half in the Texas heat. No word on how many games — if any, that is — he'll miss over the next three weeks.
That, Arena maintains, hasn't been finalized.
Rookie Bryan Gaul is the Galaxy's left back while Todd Dunivant is getting over a calf strain suffered in last week's tie at Vancouver, and he's having the time of his life.
The rookie from Bradley University stepped in against the Whitecaps, went the distance against Chivas USA, then played the first hour in the Tottenham friendly.
“Todd's a great player.,” Gaul said. “I'm just playing until he gets back. ... I have no problem being a utility player and playing all over the filed, 'cause I've played so many positions. But it's nice to just focus on one.”
He's an odd sight on the field, he knows. Most 6-foot-5 defenders play in the middle, but as a converted forward, he's most comfortable on the left flank.
“It's funny,” he said. “I was watching the game against Chivas on TV, and [the announcers] were like, '6-5 left back, are you serious?' It doesn't bug me, but it's funny that they think that.”
Arena says discussions about Chat Barrett are ongoing with Valerenga, the Norwegian club that had the forward in on trial last week, and that he is available to play at Dallas.
Scott French covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com.