LOS ANGELES (AFP) - David Beckham threw caution to the wind playing a full 90 minutes in his first start of the 2010 season for the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Beckham, who has been anointed as the player to take the MLS from a football backwater to international status, was just as surprised as his teammates that he stayed in for the entire game in the Galaxy's 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.
"It was good to get 90 minutes," Beckham said.
And in an ironic twist, Beckham was forced to put his surgically-repaired foot to a full test and go the distance against the Red Bulls because of substitutions and injuries to his teammates Friday.
"We had to do that," said Beckham. "I discussed with Bruce (coach Arena) during the week that I would play 65 to 70 minutes and I felt pretty good."
The 35-year-old, ex-England captain created scoring chances, took a free kick, survived a hard tackle early that tested his injury and received a yellow card late in the match for a hard tackle of his own in front of a crowd of 27,000 at The Home Depot Center.
"At some stages I felt tired but we had a few players pull up with injuries so I had to stay on," he said.
Beckham suffered the injury in mid-March while on loan to AC Milan. The injury kept Beckham, England's most-capped outfield player, from playing in his fourth World Cup as he missed the 2010 finals in South Africa.
"David felt he could play 90 minutes." Arena said. "In a perfect world he should not have played that long. He showed tremendous character and quality in last 20 minutes when by all rights he should have been off the field."
Beckham, who had played just 57 minutes as a substitute in his first two games this season, wasn't complaining Friday. He just wished his Galaxy had gotten off to a better start.
Los Angeles didn't get their first shot on goal until the 66th minute but then rallied to control the offence late in the game.
"The first half sets the tone of the game and the first half wasn't good for us," Beckham said. "We didn't start well. They kept the ball and we didn't pressure them. When you start games like that it is tough going on from there."
Friday's contest was the first start for Beckham since last year's MLS final.
He made his first appearance of this season on September 11, coming off the bench for 20 minutes against the Columbus Crew. He followed that up with 37 minutes as a substitute against DC United last weekend. Unlike Friday's campaign, both those games resulted in Galaxy wins.
Friday's match was billed as Beckham versus Thierry Henry, the French star who recently signed a 5.6 million dollar contract to join the Red Bulls.
Henry was ruled out of the match because of a nagging strained right knee that he suffered three weeks ago in a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
Beckham said he enjoyed stepping back into the spotlight against the Red Bulls in what could be a preview of the MLS Cup in November.
"Obviously there was a bit more hype and buzz around this game because it was New York and the rivalry," Beckham said.
"The players they brought in with (Rafael) Marquez and Thierry. There was more hype around the game and it was a full stadium. There was a buzz leading up to it but once you start the game it is just like any other game."
|Coach: B. Arena|
for Leonardo 46'
for J. Kirovski 67'
for D. Kovalenko 76'
|Mexico 0 Honduras 0: Hernandez injury sours friendly|
|Hernandez taken to hospital|
|Garay in doubt for Copa America final|
|Wambach: USA peaking for World Cup final|
|Bassett ´an absolute hero´ despite own goal - Sampson|
|Japan 2 England 1: Late own goal breaks English hearts|
|Salvo quits as Valencia president|
|Costa not Ribery cover - Bayern director Sammer|
|Chile, Argentina deserve final spots - Mena|
|Ramos keen on United switch - Calderon|
|B36 1 The New Saints 2: Wilde leaves it late to secure advantage|
|Sevilla agree deal for Rami|
|Celtic snap up United teenager Janko|
|Beauvue passes Lyon medical|
|Roma bring in Falque|
|Coates completes permanent Sunderland switch|
|Vallecano to make charity donations from shirt sales|
|Angella commits to Watford|
|Gundogan pens new Dortmund deal|
|Juve reject €80million Barca offer for Pogba, says Marotta|
|Ruiz seals permanent Villarreal move|
|Mourinho respects Cech´s decision to quit Chelsea|
|Claridge excited by potential Pearson successors|
|Miranda completes Inter switch|
|Blind takes over as Netherlands coach|
|Mourinho: Premier League tougher to win than ever|
|Hamburg make Holtby move permanent|
|Southampton terminate Osvaldo contract|
|BREAKING NEWS: Swansea swoop for Eder|
|Abbiati extends Milan stay|
|Cruyff: Barcelona have lost their values|
|Vydra seals Watford move|
|Ambitious Clyne targets trophy haul with Liverpool|
|Claridge: Off-field incidents cost Pearson his job|
|Clyne becomes Liverpool´s sixth close-season signing|
|Imbula leaves Marseille for Porto|
|FIFA chief Blatter challenges critics to prove corruption claims|
|Distin joins Bournemouth|
|Bayern seal Costa deal|
|Arsenal confirm Diaby departure|
|Blatter to miss Women´s World Cup final|
|Bogdan sets sights on being Liverpool number one|
|Danilo eager to get started at Real Madrid|
|Leicester´s Wood joins Leeds|
|Porto confirm Atletico move for Martinez|
|Lloyd: Repetition key to netting penalty|
|Sheffield Wednesday job a ´dream´ for Carvalhal|
|´We played a complete game´ - Messi|
|Diaz upbeat despite heavy Copa loss to Argentina|
|Martino lauds Messi for selfless performance|
|Viviani makes surprise Verona switch|
|Estonian team wins cup match 31-0|
|No meeting with Arsenal has occurred - Vidal´s agent|
|United States 2 Germany 0: Ellis´ team reach World Cup final|
|Argentina 6 Paraguay 1: Messi leads Martino´s men to Copa final|
|UEFA Europa League Review: FK Zeljeznicar and FC Dacia Chisinau open with wins|
|UEFA Champions League Review: FC Pyunik make winning start|
|Sweden U21 0 Portugal U21 0 (aet, 4-3 on penalties): Carlgren the hero as Swedes claim Euro glory|
|Frankfurt capture Castaignos|
|Bastia face relegation over debt|
|Bahlouli makes Monaco switch|
|Pearson sacked by Leicester|
|Rekik set for Marseille switch|
|Ranocchia and Carrizo sign new Inter deals|
|Crespo handed Modena role|
|Cech reveals work permit prevented past Arsenal move|
|Ivory Coast cut coaching shortlist down to five|
|McCarthy satisfied with Mings sale|
|Heaton commits to Burnley|
|Bowyer: Rhodes and Gestede will not come cheap|
|Burton and Day depart West Brom|
|Mendilibar makes Eibar return|
|Milan agree to terminate Muntari contract|
|Copa final a dream come true for Sampaoli|
|CSKA Sofia demoted due to financial crisis|
|Wolfsburg warn off De Bruyne suitors|
|Kone: I want to prove I can cut it at Everton|
|West Ham v Lusitans: Bilic set for first game in charge|
|Millennium Stadium to host 2017 UEFA Champions League final|
|Ronaldo a ´possibility´ for Portugal´s Olympics squad|
|Liverpool should get rid of Sterling - Grobbelaar|
|Miranda arrives for Inter medical|
|Arsenal can challenge the best - Cech|
|Real star Bale can be better than Ronaldo, says Keegan|
|UEFA approves changes to FFP rules|
|Honduras v Mexico: Moreno´s injury may force Mexican rethink pre-Gold Cup|
|Hiddink was the wrong man for Netherlands - De Boer|
|Vargas: I was scoring with every shot at training|
|Zambrano red rocked Peru - Gareca|
|Paraguay to change tack against Argentina|
|Sampaoli thrilled with substitutes´ influence, applauds Peru|
|Martino rues Copa America date with former side Paraguay|
|Former Birmingham City player Thwaites among Tunisia victims|
|Chile 2 Peru 1: Zambrano´s red card helps hosts into Copa final|
|Thiago Silva: ´I didn´t even know the ball had hit my hand´|
|Ronaldinho set to sign for Antalyaspor|