EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Three thoughts after the Los Angeles Galaxy's 3-1 win over New York on Thursday night in David Beckham's return to Major League Soccer:
• Landon Donovan needed to have this game. With a goal and an assist, the once and future Captain Galaxy was far and away the Man of the Match, a good thing for Donovan for two reasons: 1) After the controversy regarding his comments criticizing Beckham, Donovan needed to remind people how good he is, and 2) If he'd played poorly, Donovan himself would have been criticized for only coming in on a red-eye from Los Angeles the night before the game. (He was with his U.S. teammates accepting an ESPY Wednesday night.) Make no mistake, Donovan is the real thing these days, a player at the height of his powers who really does need to consider finding the right club situation in Europe.
• David Beckham can fit into this team. There's no question that this is now Donovan's team, but Beckham showed tonight that he can be a useful addition to Bruce Arena's outfit. The Englishman had a decent game before coming off in the 70th minute. Although Becks didn't have a role in any of the Galaxy goals, he put in a full effort, had a good understanding with his teammates and didn't show too much rust despite a five-week layoff from game action. Plus, Beckham went out of his way to share some Kumbaya moments with Donovan after two Galaxy goals, sharing a full-on man-hug after one and a semi-awkward arm-around-the-shoulder maneuver on another. When it comes down to it, if this team wins it doesn't really matter to them if they aren't close personally. In fact, addressing the unspoken tension between them might just be the worst thing that could have happened for the rest of MLS.
• New York is downright awful. Let's see: More eyeballs were watching this Red Bulls game than for any other game so far all season. And all they did was to go down 3-0 at home in the first half. So much for performing under pressure. New York is now 2-14-4, and the home fans who unfurled a WE DESERVE BETTER banner in the second half are dead right. With a shiny new stadium opening in Jersey next year, the Red Bulls can't afford to continue being a league-wide embarrassment, and Juan Carlos Osorio's coaching job is on thin ice.
How good do you think this Galaxy team is after four straight wins? And was tonight more a case of the Galaxy being good or the Red Bulls being terrible? Chime in with your thoughts below...
Grant Wahl's book, The Beckham Experiment, is in bookstores everywhere. You can order it here. You can also find him on Twitter.