Becks touches down, down under

After a brief stop in Beijing, China, for a promotional appearance, David Beckham arrived in Australia on a private jet to rejoin his Galaxy teammates for an exhibition match against Sydney FC of the A-League.

All 80,000 tickets for Tuesday night's game at the Telstra Stadium were sold, and the fans were treated to a Beckham specialty. The Englishman scored on a patented free kick late in the first half, one of eight goals in a 5-3 Sydney FC victory.

Gate receipts for the match are expected to total about $3.1 million (3.5 million Australian dollars). No figure has been given for the cut to be paid to the Galaxy, but its recent exhibitions in Vancouver and Minnesota earned it $500,000. Per game.

The giddiness swirling around Beckham's visit has apparently afflicted team executives as well as fans and press. Galaxy assistant manager Tom Payne said, "We could cancel playing in our league and go on a barnstoming tour around the world. Beckham's presence is that great."

In the immortal words of former D.C. United and Red Bull New York coach Bruce Arena, "That's never going to fly."

No, but it makes great copy.

The Galaxy next moves on to New Zealand for a match against Wellington Phoenix on Friday.

MLS is planning to stage the inaugural edition of the Pan-Pacific Cup in Hawaii in late February, with the Galaxy and possibly Sydney FC as two of the entrants. Other MLS teams and Asian clubs are also expected to compete.

(The Australian Soccer Federation left the Oceania confederation to join Asia in January 2006.)
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