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Becks Does His Job without Playing

He was there and yet he wasn't, says the Boston Globe's John Powers. David Beckham may have been on the field at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night, but -- and many of the 35,000-plus fans who showed up just to see him didn't know this -- his name wasn't even on the team sheet. Beckham's tender left ankle still has yet to heal, and as it turns, that 20-minute appearance at D.C. United last Thursday didn't help, either. Indeed, one bad challenge and he could miss the rest of the season.

But "the most important thing right now," says Powers, "more than whether the man actually laces up his boots and plays, is that he's here"-- that he's come to America that is, and will finish his career here in America. The important thing, rather, is that he's done what he was supposed to do: put butts in seats and build buzz for the league. To that end, he's still doing his job, amassing large audiences wherever the Galaxy goes, and prompting headlines across the globe about his merely showing up.

Still, there's no hiding the frustration that everyone -- not just the fans -- feels over his ill-timed injury. "It's disappointing, but it's reality," L.A. coach Frank Yallop said after the 1-0 loss on Sunday, adding that Becks himself feels badly about the situation. Even L.A. captain Landon Donovan couldn't hide his frustration: "We've played 15 [MLS] matches and had him for half an hour." Good crowds and strong buzz are pluses, but losses certainly are not. "The downside is, they're rooting for David, not for us," Donovan added.

Read the whole story at Boston Globe »

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