The unraveling of the L.A. Galaxy's playoff dream illuminates a few harsh realities about David Beckham's form, says Paul Gardner in his column for the New York Sun. Millions and millions of dollars have been heaped on the England national team star, but Becks, all told, "turned out to be a flop on the field" -- a flop that Gardner says was made all the more foolish by a series of decisions to play him while he was still injured.
But "the awful, unthinkable truth is that the team did better without Beckham," Gardner says. Indeed, without him, the Galaxy fought its way back into playoff contention, winning five games in a row (and tying a regular-season record). But in the final two games, the Galaxy players looked a shadow of their former selves with Becks on the field: they laid the ball off to him in deep positions hoping he could deliver pin-point passes from 60 yards -- precious few hit their intended target.
Gardner describes Beckam's contribution in those final games as "feeble to downright embarrassing. Injury and a lack of match fitness had something to do with it, but there's no escaping the fact that his performances were poor. Almost fittingly, it was Beckham's error that finally put the nail in the Galaxy's coffin. His back pass from midfield landed right at the feet of Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who laid it off to Calen Carr, who then fed John Thorrington to put the game away -- an ending that represented the antithesis of the Hollywood script in every way.