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MLS Must Look Beyond Beckham And Donovan, November 28th, 2008 4:45PM



The "ambassador of MLS" was nowhere to be seen on Sunday when the league played its showpiece final game, writes Andrea Canales. As David Beckham lives so close to the stadium where he plays for the L.A. Galaxy, why did he not show up at an event that "has traditionally been a showcase for the all the icons of the league to come together and present a united front of support and belief in the game's progress"? For that matter, where was his teammate Landon Donovan?

Although Canales says it's Beckham's prerogative to attend a boxing match in Las Vegas instead, the fact that he did no media interviews in the lead-up to the game "definitely seems like a snub." Donovan's absence, meanwhile is notable because he has always "presented himself as a player who was personally invested in helping American soccer and the domestic league succeed. In part, Donovan did that by insisting that he didn't need to go abroad to improve as a player."
Now that Donovan's changed course and has a loan offer from Bayern Munich, and bearing in mind Beckham's loan deal with AC Milan (both deals that caught the league "flatfooted"), it's time for the league to focus on the players that actually want to stay and play. If players like Beckham and Donovan "feel they've outgrown the league or are too big for it, MLS should jettison all the baggage that comes with that. That Donovan and Beckham were conspicuous by their absence should not overshadow a well-played game that was one of the better finals in league history."

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