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Beckham sparkles in Hong Kong
by Ridge Mahoney, March 10th, 2008 6:45AM
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TAGS:  mls


For the second time in three games on the western-most leg of its Asian tour, the Galaxy ended regulation tied but lost on penalty kicks. Not to be blamed, though, is David Beckham, whose excellent play created numerous chances his teammates failed to convert.

In the Hong Kong Stadium in front of 14,000 fans on Sunday, the South China Athletic Association Invitation Team tied Los Angeles, 2-2, then won a shootout, 5-4, when Greg Vanney shot high on the Galaxy's second attempt.

The tour had begun March 1 in Seoul. The home team, FC Seoul, beat the Galaxy on penalties, 2-1, after a 1-1 deadlock. Last Wednesday in Shanghai, Carlos Ruiz hit a hat trick in a 3-0 victory over Shanghai-Hong Kong United.

Detinho had scored for South China in first-half stoppage time and it took the lead again with its own penalty kick in first-half stoppage time whistled for a Troy Roberts handball.

Alan Gordon equalized for the Galaxy in the 62nd minute with his second goal of the tour and a late Beckham penalty kick tied the scores again after an Ely Allen cross had yielded a handball by defender Festus Baise.

Just a minute after Gordon replaced Chris Klein, Allen played a short ball to left back Michael Gavin, who pushed forward to slide a precise through ball that Gordon tucked away. Beckham started the play that resulted in the late Galaxy penalty, and drove his kick down the middle to tie the score.

He capped off an impressive performance by converting in the shootout, as did Peter Vagenas, Abel Xavier and Gordon. But Greg Vanney's miss and five straight successful kicks by South China gave the host team the victory.

Landon Donovan missed the three-game Asian tour because of patella tendonitis in his right knee and has been receiving treatment in Southern California for the past two weeks. Edson Buddle suffered a dislocation of the SC joint of his right collarbone during the Galaxy's 2-1 victory over Sydney FC in the Pan Pacific Championship in Hawaii Feb. 21. He not expected back in time for the league opener March 29 at Colorado and Donovan's status for the opener is unknown.

Los Angeles plays FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park Saturday in the FC Dallas Foundation Charity Game. An Associated Press report stated England manager Fabio Capello or one of his assistants would be on hand to evaluate Beckham's fitness and possible inclusion for a March 26 friendly against France.


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