How bad off is the Los Angeles Galaxy? The MLS team had no one to replace Edson Buddle, suffering from cramps, and finished Tuesday's match against Sydney FC with nine players -- Canadian Kevin Harmse was sent off with 13 minutes to play. No matter. Everyone went home happy. FC Sydney won the Hyundai Challenge Cup, 5-3. The 80,295 fans saw David Beckham score a magnificent goal, and the Galaxy reportedly sold 20,000 Beckham jerseys in Australia.
Few teams take friendlies very seriously, yet some players react literally when told to mark certain high-profile opponents.
Sydney FC defender Brendon Santalab hushed a crowd of 80,295 at Telstra Stadium by clattering into David Beckham during a 5-3 defeat of the Galaxy Tuesday, but Beckham recovered from the challenge to score on a free kick and also pick up a yellow card for a harsh foul in a retlaliation to a clumsy tackle by Robert Middleby.
Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell had triggered concerns about Beckham's health when he felled the superstar during a 12-minute debut in Chelsea's meeting with the Galaxy at Home Depot Center in July.
Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle also scored for the Galaxy, which fell behind, 3-0, and cut the deficit with Beckham's free kick shortly before halftime, but could never catch up. It also finished the game two men down following the ejection of Kevin Harmse for a second yellow card with 13 minutes to play. Harmse stepped on the arm of Adam Biddle while he lay on the ground.
Buddle left the game with leg cramps a few minutes later, yet Donovan latched onto a pass from Chris Klein to score in the final seconds. No subs were available as the Galaxy took only 14 healthy field players on the trip.
After the tackle by Santalab, Beckham limped around for a few minutes, favoring the same right ankle he'd injured late in the 2006-07 Spanish league season. He scored from about 23 yards after Carlos Pavon had been fouled and pronounced after the game his ankle "feels fine."
The number that mattered more to the Galaxy than the score is 20,000, which is how many jerseys it reportedly sold in Australia. The game was billed as the Hyundai Challenge Cup; Hyundai is the title sponsor of Australia's national league, the A-League, which has a stake in an international tournament that will be officially announced Thursday in Hawaii.
Referred to as the Pan-Pacific Cup by MLS commissioner Don Garber during a press conference two days before MLS Cup, the tournament will be staged in February with the Galaxy, at least one other MLS team, and representatives from Japan's J-League and the A-League.
According to a source, games will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
The Galaxy concludes its two-game tour in New Zealand Friday against Wellington Phoenix, which also plays in the A-League. Beckham, who joined the team late in Australia so he could make a promotional appearance in China, will promote a perfume Wednesday before resuming his playing duties.
Nov. 27 in Sydney
Sydney FC 5 Los Angeles Galaxy 3. Goals: Brosque 20, 26, Zadkovich 29, Middleby 54, Fyfe 87; Beckham 45, Buddle 49, Donovan 90.
Sydney FC -- Bolton, Fyfe, Tsattalios, Popovic, Zadkovich, Santalab, Brosque, Milligan, Biddle, Juninho, Talay. Subs: Rudan, Middleby, Zdrilic, Vidaic, McFlynn, Necevski.
Los Angeles Galaxy -- Cannon, Veris, Jazic, Albright, Harmse, Klein, Veris, Beckham, Donovan, Buddle, Pavon.
Referee: Mark Shield.