Soccer

Beckham's Galaxy edged by Whitecaps in Edmonton

L.A. Galaxy star David Beckham put on a solid show, but Vancouver forward Eduardo Sebrango's second-half goal propelled the Whitecaps to a 2-1 win in Tuesday's friendly at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium.

David Beckham's latest visit to Canada lived up to the hype.

The Los Angeles Galaxy superstar put on a crowd-pleasing show, and Vancouver  forward Eduardo Sebrango scored a pretty goal in the 66th minute to propel the Whitecaps to a 2-1 victory before the 37,104 fans who attended Tuesday's exhibition match at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. Beckham played 75 minutes, recording one assist.

The Englishman said afterward he had injured his foot in a recent Major League Soccer game against Salt Lake.

"I just caught the bottom of [a defender's] studs. It's just bruising. There's a slight lump on the top of my foot," he said. "I've played with that for three games since, so it's just one of those things that are going to be there."

Beckham said he didn't want to miss Tuesday's game.

"People want you to perform, whether it's a friendly match or an MLS game or whether you're playing for your country. People expect to see something. You try to do that in every game.

"Having a hand in the goal today helped. I played a few nice passes. Overall it was enjoyable. I enjoyed it."

Fans favour Galaxy

It was the second friendly in six months between the Galaxy and the Whitecaps, who play in the United Soccer League. The teams played to a scoreless draw in Vancouver last November, and decided on a rematch in Edmonton because of the grass surface in Commonwealth and to help grow the sport in Western Canada.

Sebrango, the Whitecaps' leading scorer this season, outran Galaxy defender Abel Xavier and redirected a Nick Webb crossing pass under the outstretched arm of goalie Josh Wicks from five yards out.

"It felt good. We wanted to come here and have a good game and we did that," said the 35-year-old Cuban.

"We worked very hard and we deserved to win."

He said he was surprised the majority of fans cheered for the Galaxy.

"We're all Canadians here so I thought they would cheer for us, but we enjoyed it very much."

Hot start for Beckham

The Whitecaps held the edge in play throughout the game.

They blitzed the Galaxy in the first half, outshooting them 8-5, but only came away with a 1-1 tie.

Forward Nick Adderly opened the scoring in the fourth minute, breaking in to the right of Wicks and pushing the ball past him from 20 yards out inside the far post.

Minutes later, he hit the far goalpost on a breakaway.

The Galaxy battled back, led by Beckham's laser beam cross-field passes that landed on the feet of streaking forward Alan Gordon.

Flashbulbs popped from one end of the stands to the other when Beckham lined up for a 30-yard free kick that just missed the near post. In the 43rd minute, he connected on a cross-field pass that Gordon headed at the side of the net past goalie Srdjan Djekanovic.

Beckham, whose arrival in MLS last season was largely spoiled by injuries — including a tender ankle that prevented him from suiting up for L.A. when the team visited Toronto FC in August — is enjoying a fine start to his second MLS campaign.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, known for his crosses and bending free kicks, has scored three goals and four assists so far this season.

He has been named the league's player of the week twice and has paired up with linemate Landon Donovan to form the deadliest one-two punch in the league. Donovan, who leads the MLS with eight goals, was a late scratch for Tuesday's match with a right calf strain.

With files from the Canadian Press

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