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'
|Ivory Coast´s tournament starts now - Renard|
|Allegri rejects Juve criticism|
|Atletico´s Arda Turan escapes red card after throwing boot at assistant referee|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Barcelona 3 (agg 2-4): Neymar double secures semi-final spot|
|Parma 0 Juventus 1: Morata late show wins it for visitors|
|Sheffield United 2 Tottenham 2 (agg 2-3): Pochettino books Wembley final|
|Ecuador dismiss Vizuete|
|Championship Preview: Middlesbrough out to continue run, Bournemouth seek response|
|Guinea 1 Mali 1: Lots to decide Group D runners-up|
|Cameroon 0 Ivory Coast 1: Gradel strike sends Renard´s men through|
|Lots to be drawn to decide AFCON qualifiers|
|Eredivisie Preview: De Boer warning for Ajax, leaders PSV host Willem II|
|Bundesliga Preview: Leaders Bayern and Wolfsburg kick off Ruckrunde|
|Howard boost for Everton|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Jardim plays down Monaco title hopes ahead of Lyon showdown|
|Costa charged by FA for alleged Can stamp|
|O´Keefe joins Cardiff|
|Dons teenager Alli in demand|
|Gabriel seals Arsenal switch|
|Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich: Guardiola eyes ´big step´ to Bundesliga title|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Rennes: Montanier seeks another upset in French capital|
|Martinez rules out panic buys|
|Gilardino targets Fiorentina goals|
|Milan agree Bocchetti loan|
|League Two Preview: Cambridge and Luton prepare to renew rivalries|
|Ronaldo hit with two-match ban|
|West Brom complete McManaman deal|
|Sullivan hits back in Sakho row|
|Richards: Cuadrado suited to Premier League|
|Figo to challenge for FIFA presidency|
|Inzaghi out to freshen up struggling Milan|
|Wigan agree a fee for Mckay|
|Carver eyes strong finish|
|Bowen cools talk of Stoke swoop for Sandro and Traore|
|Lazio-bound Morrison lands in Rome|
|Mourinho fined £25k for ´campaign´ claims|
|Mainz bring in Castillo|
|Villa: Lambert will not be sacked|
|Monk hopeful of adding new faces|
|Sainsbury ready to replace Franjic|
|Beckenbauer hopeful of Guardiola stay|
|Mourinho hits back at Costa critics|
|Rodriguez grateful for ´fundamental´ Ronaldo support|
|La Liga Preview: Real want revenge against Socieded|
|No Dallas move for Essien|
|Bale rubbishes United link, Ronaldo rift|
|Sahin in ´good shape´ for Bundesliga resumption|
|Rodgers slams Costa´s stamp collection|
|Under-fire Inzaghi urges patience|
|Rodgers: Courtois saved Chelsea|
|Mashaba wants lessons to be learnt after AFCON exit|
|Mourinho refuses to wade into Costa incidents after Chelsea win|
|Football League Review: Bent double sends Derby second, Rotherham triumph|
|Chelsea 1 Liverpool 0 (aet, agg 2-1): Ivanovic settles action-packed League Cup semi-final|
|Milan 0 Lazio 1: Inzaghi future plunged into further doubt|
|Neymar dreaming of ending Brazil´s home hoodoo|
|South Africa 1 Ghana 2: Late Ayew winner seals qualification|
|Senegal 0 Algeria 2: Mahrez and Bentaleb dump Senegal out|
|Bocchetti poised to join Milan on loan|
|De Rossi suffers calf injury|
|Montano accuses Oldham of double standards after Evans saga|
|Bojan out for the season with ruptured cruciate|
|Cameroon v Ivory Coast: Renard defends Yaya Toure|
|Yanga-Mbiwa makes Roma move permanent|
|Guinea v Mali: Quarter-final berth on offer in Mongomo|
|Thohir: Inter not reliant on European football|
|Bremen land Vestergaard|
|Allegri refuses to rule out Cassano move|
|Mexes handed four-game ban after Lazio dismissal|
|Joyce reveals Valdes´ inspirational team-talk|
|CAF announces AFCON venue switches|
|Alcacer commits future to Valencia|
|Postecoglou calls for Aussie ´energy´|
|Everton confirm Eto´o departure to Sampdoria|
|Pochettino to stick with Vorm despite cup error|
|Barcelona are not favourites against Atletico, says Luis Enrique|
|Allegri wary of Parma backlash in Coppa Italia|
|Zidane urges Real to tie Ancelotti down|
|FIFPro: Transfer system failing football|
|Anderlecht condemn Standard´s Defour banner|
|Australia 2 UAE 0: Socceroos ease into home final|
|Barca overhaul youth system|
|FIFPro demands clubs respect contractual obligations|
|Mahmoud targeting World Cup place with Iraq|
|Fabregas wants Chelsea to show winning mentality|
|Rangers borrow £10m from Ashley´s Sports Direct|
|Lyon face anxious wait over Lacazette|
|Undermanned Lazio recall Perea|
|Ki wants South Korea to prove their superiority|
|Ghana´s Gyan wary of South Africa|
|Mashaba urges South Africa to attack|
|Benitez: Napoli deserved to win|
|Pacos de Ferreira 1 Benfica 0: Leaders fail from the spot|
|Serie A Review: Higuain at the double in controversial Napoli win, Udinese see off Empoli|