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Should David Beckham have taken the final penalty kick?

Dec 1, 2012, 10:15 PM EDT

2012 MLS Cup - Houston Dynamo v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

CARSON, Calif. – The moment of ultimate MLS poignancy was there for David Beckham, to potentially punctuate his six-year MLS career in the most outstanding way possible: by clinching the MLS Cup in his final match. With what probably would have been his last kick in Major League Soccer, no less.

But Robbie Keane stepped up to lash the decisive, final blow as the Galaxy finished off the wounded and all-but-beaten Houston Dynamo.

A few of members of the British press – this being the Galaxy of recent years, there are always squad-strength groups of British press about – were chirping a bit about the choice of penalty kick shooters. Why didn’t Beckham move in for that shot?

Not that they should have; Landon Donovan has been the Galaxy penalty kick taker of choice for years. Keane has been the second choice for two years now.

Beckham? He does a lot, as we know – but taking penalty kicks just isn’t one of them.

Still, it was an interesting situation. Did Beckham perhaps have that moment where he thought about it? He did have a quick word with Donovan as Keane walked to the spot, ball in hand. But Beckham later explained what was going on.

“I told Landon to take it and he told me to take it because he was too tired,” Beckham said. “At the end of the day, all I want is to win the game. It’s not about me taking a penalty to top things off. It’s about winning the game and winning the championship. The discussion was simple – I told Landon to take it, but I don’t think he could even walk up to the penalty spot, so Robbie took it.”

(MORE: Further retirement hints from Donovan)

Besides all that, what if Beckham had stepped up – and missed! Even No. 23 himself had a laugh Saturday about how he has missed some of those in the past over his long career.

And on the subject of penalty kicks, Beckham also took a quick moment to talk about Donovan’s game-winning kick.

Donovan had missed such a glistening opportunity early in the first half. The U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer admitted he brooded about it until halftime. So when the opportunity rose to make amends – the ultimate scoring opportunity in soccer, but one dripping with pressure for that very reason – Donovan admitted he was quite nervous about the shot.

Beckham laid it on the line for the man sitting to his left at the press conference:

“It took balls for Landon to step up and take that kick,” Beckham said.

(MORE: Man of the Match Omar Gonzalez)

(MORE: A few additional words about David Beckham’s MLS farewell)

  1. djmatticus - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Soccer (football) isn’t all about scoring. Beckham played his game today, what he brings to the pitch every time he steps out there… there was no reason for him to step up and take a PK just to score a goal in his final game.

  2. mitchem85 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:45 AM


  3. kappy32 - Dec 2, 2012 at 4:33 AM

    Absolutely. I was watching the game & I was saying to myself & hoping he would get it. They had the game pretty much wrapped up at that point & it’s not like they’re giving the kick to a bum. Bad move by Arena there.

    • Steve Davis - Dec 2, 2012 at 8:43 AM

      It’s not Arena, though. At the professional level, players always sort these things out on the field.

    • manchestermiracle - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      Keane earned that PK. When Donovan said he couldn’t go it rightfully fell to Keane. And 2-1 is hardly “…the game pretty much wrapped up at that point…”

  4. greej1938l - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Beckham wouldnt have missed that shot…lets make that clear…not in that moment

  5. tylerbetts - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Meh. Keane earned that kick, and throughout the match had enough hustle, strong play, and attacking chances that he almost deserved a goal. I thought Keane taking it told the best story of the game.

  6. olvera32066 - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    the reason you, mr writer……uhhhh…nevermind…..bring this up is because you know nothing!!!
    Beckham has never been a good PK taker. He might of made of few, but he was never the guy. let me learn you some more, the guy was dead tired out there. he walked, and walked, and walked his way through that game. Robbie Keane was making 40 yard runs in the late minutes of the game. what does this mean, you ask……you need “legs” to shoot and score a PK. have you ever tried one? go learn some more……

  7. greej1938l - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    well that just sounds rude. I think he should have. He would have nailed it.

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