CARSON, Calif. – No injury or illness could or would keep LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham out of Sunday night’s MLS Cup final.
In the week leading up to the match, Beckham missed training due to what reporters were told was a cold. But after beating the Houston Dynamo 1-0 to lift the trophy, both the player and his coach revealed that what ailed the star was a little more serious.
“He slightly strained a hamstring the other day in training,” said Bruce Arena during the postgame press conference.
Beckham took it a step further.
“The hamstring, I tore on Tuesday and I had a little bit of a cold Wednesday morning – which I actually did, funny enough,” Beckham said in the postgame press conference, alluding to the fact that media believed the illness was made up to hide the more serious injury. “The hamstring was something I was disappointed about because I think we’d had three tough games in nine days and I felt great on that Tuesday, [but] pulled up short on Tuesday with the hamstring.”
Whether it was a strain or a tear, Beckham gritted through it, played with the pain for 90 minutes, and earned praise from Arena for it.
“David’s a champion,” the Galaxy coach said. “I’ve been around great athletes and competitors in my life in different sports and this guy is as good as they come – unbelievable desire to win and compete. … He gutted it out tonight. He obviously wanted to be there. My hat is off to David.”
Thanks to Landon Donovan's winning goal in the 72nd minute, Beckham will end the final year of his Galaxy contract in style.
“Being successful always feels good,” Beckham said. “Proving people wrong feels even [better]. I think people doubted us. We’re the Galaxy, we’re the biggest club in this country and this league, and we’re proud tonight, we’re proud to be a part of this.”
With his contract up, questions will abound as to whether the 36-year-old will stay in LA, go play elsewhere, or hang up the boots. Whatever Beckham’s decision, Arena said he’ll fully support his player.
“Whatever he decides to do, I support it 100 percent – he’s earned that,” said Arena. “If he decides to get on his horse and ride into the sunset or go elsewhere or retire, I support that. He’s earned it. He’s really earned the right to make the kind of decision he wants to make.”
Beckham, for his part, is in no rush to make his decision.
“I’ve said before I need to sit back and relax and enjoy this moment and then decide what I’m going to do,” Beckham said. “I might talk in past tense every now and then, but it doesn’t mean I’m not coming back. At the end of the day, I need to decide what best for me, what’s best for the team and my family, and then we’ll see.
"It’s been an amazing five years, amazing to be part of a team that Bruce has coached. It’s been the most enjoyable time of my career here in America the last few years, and this [MLS Cup win] has just topped it off tonight.”