CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham has been asked repeatedly about his legacy on these shores since announcing two weeks ago that Saturday’s MLS Cup title game would be his finale with the LA Galaxy, offering his take on what's he's provided on and off the field and how his commitment to his sport in America will not wane even when he's playing elsewhere.
Following the Galaxy's triumph over Houston to secure successive championships, he acknowledged that he could not adequately assess his worth, whatever it might be.
“I just hope people have enjoyed me playing here and watching me play for the Galaxy,” he said in the postgame press conference. “It's what I always hope for when I step on the field, that people enjoy watching myself and watching the team I play for.
“My impact will be down to what people decide – other people. I think I had a successful time here, but it's up to other people to decide that.”
A few of the others – teammates on the dais at the post-Cup news conference and in the Galaxy's champagne-soaked locker room – have little doubt how his MLS epitaph will read.
“Wow! Incredible ...,” head coach Bruce Arena put it. “Twenty years from now, we're going to look at this league and still talk about David Beckham as the one that helped turn us. He's had a phenomenal contribution, both on the field and off. It's been incredible. For him to walk off the field today with another trophy is amazing.”
Robbie Keane agreed.
“He's been fantastic for this league, hasn't he?” the Irish forward said. “He put the MLS on the map and made players like meself want to come over and play here because the league has grown massively. That's down to David.”
Beckham said he hoped he “brought a bit of interest to the game [in the US]. I hope that's what I've done. If that's the single thing that I've done, then great. But I think the foundations are there now in this league. It will continue to grow.”
Beckham capped his tenure with a characteristic performance, continually finding space to deliver defense-stretching balls and dangerous crosses, and it was his corner kick – and the feed that followed to switch the ball from the left flank to the right – that led to Omar Gonzalez's 60th-minute equalizer that changed the game. It enabled him to depart on top, just as he did when he left Manchester United and Real Madrid.
“It's better going out with two titles than one, obviously,” Beckham said. “It's been a successful six years here, reaching three MLS Cup finals and winning two. Winning the second one, it's even more satisfying. I'll enjoy this one tonight, I think.”