HOUSTON – Ever since Monday's announcement that MLS Cup would represent David Beckham's final MLS bow, the headlines have been dominated by Beckham talk and speculation.
Here in Houston, where the Galaxy's MLS Cup 2012 foes trained on Tuesday, the Dynamo were business-like while giving Beckham his due ahead of their big rematch in Southern California on Dec. 1 (4:30 pm ET, ESPN, TeleFutura, TSN/RDS in Canada).
“If he’s playing, we’ll prepare for him to play, that’s it,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “We won’t talk about him and his last game; we’ll talk about him playing 90 minutes.
Watch: Dynamo celebrate in DC
“I will say that I think we should all thank him for what he’s meant to MLS soccer.”
Included in the former England stalwart’s contributions was his work to open MLS up to new markets around the world. He also helped forge a reputation that made foreign players in their prime, such as the Dynamo’s Giles Barnes, look at the league as a legitimate option.
“I think if there was one player that could drive MLS to all the good things we are now, it was him,” Kinnear remarked. “You have to look at what he does off the field, you don’t hear any bad stories about him as far as I can tell. Anytime you see him, he’s always playing soccer or with his family so I think, off the field … he’s been a respectable person and that’s the reason why he is who he is.
“I think we all in MLS need to take a step back and ever since he’s come here with the expansion and TV and how MLS has grown and we should all be quietly thankful.”
Dealing with Beckham news during an MLS Cup build-up is nothing new for the Dynamo. They did it in 2011 when there was speculation that he would walk away from MLS after that game as well.
While they respect what he has done and the player he is, it did not change Houston’s approach then and will not this time around as the Dynamo choose to focus on what is going to happen on the field December 1st and not what will happen off it after the title is decided.
“It doesn’t change the way we approach the game,” said Calen Carr, who did work on the side during Houston’s training Tuesday. “I think he’s a guy who has done a lot for the league and is a great player. Maybe it adds a bit more excitement to the game, which is good for everybody.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.