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Galaxy postscript: Is David Beckham's 6-year-old a better referee than Abbey Okulaja?

April 11, 2011 |  2:28 pm


Last season, the Galaxy had the best road record in Major League Soccer at 9-3-3.

This season, the start away from home has been somewhat different. A 4-1 loss at Real Salt Lake has been followed by a 1-1 tie at D.C. United in a game that could have and should have been won.

It was all very well for Coach Bruce Arena and midfielder David Beckham to blame referee Abbey Okulaja for a very questionable call that gifted D.C. United with a last-minute penalty kick, but the fact remains that had Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez not laid a hand on Charlie Davies, no call would have been made.

Similarly, had the Galaxy defense been covering properly in the final frantic minutes, perhaps the ball might have been cleared and Davies might not have got in one on one against Gonzalez.

Also, had the forwards contrived to find the back of the net a little more often than once a game, the match would have been out of D.C. United's reach long before the 90th minute. Five games and five goals, that's the output of Juan Pablo Angel & Co. It's not good enough.

In other words, there is blame enough to go around. But Arena and Beckham chose to focus on Okulaja, with Arena's comments likely to draw a frown or two at the league office.

"The officiating in this league is what it is," Arena said. "Unfortunately, we're all conditioned to it now anyway and accept it. It is what it is."

Beckham, meanwhile, said he was "disgusted" by the call.

"Even my 6-year-old son would know not to call that a penalty," Beckham said. "It's not a penalty. If anything, it's a yellow card [to Davies for diving]. I think any place, grass-roots level, kids playing in the park, at any level, that's not a penalty. It's as simple as that."

But it was called, Davies scored the tying goal and two points were lost on the road. Next up is Toronto in Canada on Wednesday night. Another road game. Another controversy?


Bob Gansler, Bruce Murray, Cobi Jones elected to U.S. soccer Hall of Fame

Lionel Messi overtakes David Beckham as top-earning soccer player

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Referee Abbey Okulaja is surrounded by Galaxy players protesting a call that gave D.C. United a free kick that led to a 1-1 tie on Saturday night. Credit: Chuck Myers / McClatchy-Tribune