Soccer

Beckham debuts as Galaxy fall to Chelsea

The David Beckham era in the United States officially began on Saturday night as the midfielder walked onto the field of the Home Depot Center in the 78th minute of an international friendly between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chelsea.

The David Beckham era in the United States officially began on Saturday night as the midfielder walked onto the field of the Home Depot Center in the 78th minute of an international friendly between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chelsea.

Beckham's Galaxy fell to the English Premiership power, 1-0, but the sold-out crowd was just happy that it saw the international superstar make his Los Angeles debut in Carson, Calif.

Beckham, who was a game-time decision, did not start for Los Angeles because he was nursing an injured left ankle all week. He arrived at the stadium about 90 minutes before the game, and did not come out of the locker room until minutes before kickoff, when he was swarmed by cameras on the bench.

With the Galaxy down 1-0, Beckham started warming up on the sidelines in the 65th minute. After getting his ankle looked at by trainers, flashes went off as Beckham entered the match for Alan Gordon. Beckham played the final 13-plus minutes and had eight touches, including a corner kick in the last few seconds.

"I'm not fit," Beckham said. "I haven't trained since I got here, but it's nice to be out there."

Beckham's ankle was swollen Monday, but the injury had improved slightly in the last few days. It hadworsened when he flew from England to the United States last week.

Beckham first injured the ankle playing for England in a Euro 2008 qualifying match on June 6. He aggravated the injury in his final game for Real Madrid.

Los Angeles needs a healthy Beckham before it returns to its Major League Soccer schedule on August 5 against Toronto FC at BMO Field. The Galaxy are fifth in the Western Conference — ahead of only Real Salt Lake.

Beckham signed a five-year deal with L.A. worth $32.5 million US, which will total nearly $250 million with endorsements.

In the crowd that saw Beckham's first game in a Galaxy uniform were Katie Holmes, Kevin Garnett, Eva Longoria, Sharon Stone, Drew Carey and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The lone goal came in the 49th minute, when John Terry blasted a one-timer from the top of the box.