David Beckham earned a yellow yard for his actions at the Los Angeles Galaxy-San Jose Earthquakes game on June 30th. Due to yellow card accumulation, the Galaxy midfielder had to miss the July 4th game against the Philadelphia Union. Yet, the MLS Disciplinary Committee didn't feel the punishment was enough. Thus, they gave Beckham an additional one-game suspension and fined him "an undisclosed sum." As a result, he will miss the Chicago Fire game on July 8th at Toyota Park.
In a heated California Clasico game, Sam Cronin was involved in a collision in stoppage time. The Quakes player went down and stayed down. The Galaxy were trailing San Jose 4-3 and there were only minutes left in the game. Beckham kicked not one, but two balls towards Cronin and the referee who was standing over the "injured" player. Beckham's very accurate kick hit Cronin who miraculously jumped up and walked toward Beckham. The English midfielder was immediately carded. Yet, the drama didn't end there. After the game ended, the two teams got in a scuffle with Beckham in the center of most of the action.
Was the Punishment Correct?
According to a poll on mlssoccer.com, over "47 percent" of people polled thought Beckham's one-game suspension was too short. Some may be basing this on Brek Shea's precedent. The FC Dallas player received a three-game suspension for kicking the ball at the sideline referee. First of all, Shea was much closer to the referee. Secondly, I think Shea's punishment was too harsh. In addition, I feel like Cronin escaped punishment for taking way too long to get up. Even though the officiating was, as Bruce Arena said, atrocious, Beckham shouldn't have been "fighting" with the San Jose Earthquakes. Still, I can see why he was worked up. I'm sure failing to be picked for Great Britain's Olympic team didn't help Beckham's mood either. Overall, the MLS Disciplinary committee needs to be more cautious when handing out their punishments. After all, I don't think Rafa Marquez's three-game suspension for breaking Shea Salinas collarbone was harsh enough. Kicking a ball at someone is much different than intentionally hurting a player.
Implications for the Galaxy-Fire Game
While the Chicago Fire are hot, the Galaxy are cold. With 28 points, the Fire are unbeaten in four games while the Galaxy are on a two-game losing skid with 20 points. In addition, the Fire are 5-1-2 at home and the Galaxy are 2-5-1 on the road. The odds are definitely against us. As we saw against the Philadelphia Union, we were less potent with our free kicks without Beckham. The good news is that Omar Gonzalez is back. Thus, our midfield may be a little weaker but our defense is definitely stronger.
Yes, David Beckham's behavior may have been "unacceptable." However, even when he is mad, his accuracy is undeniably spot on.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.
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