Photo by David Bernal/ISIphotos.com
By AVI CREDITOR
LOS ANGELES — FIFA president Sepp Blatter sent shockwaves through the soccer world with his comments about the lack of racism as a whole in soccer and to deal with on-field incidents with a mere handshake, and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham didn't hold back when given the chance to address Blatter's remarks to assembled media on Thursday.
"I think the comments were appalling," Beckham said. "I think a lot of people have said that. I don't think the comments were very good for this game. I have no power with who goes and who stays within FIFA, and I don't wish to have that, but there obviously is and has been racism throughout soccer and life.
"Especially being around the England team, being around the FA, the FA do a lot of work with kicking racism out of the game, and I think they've made huge strides in the last 10-to-15 years, but it's still there and it can't be swept under the carpet and it can't be sorted out with just a handshake. That's not the way of the world, and that's not how racism should be greeted."
Here are a few more items from the build-up to MLS Cup 2011:
DYNAMO SEEK DAVIS REPLACEMENT
MVP candidate Brad Davis' season-ending thigh injury has left a gaping hole in the Houston Dynamo's starting lineup and raised speculation of who may fill his valuable shoes. Coach Dom Kinnear has a few options at his disposal, though he stopped short of annointing a starting left winger with days to spare before the final.
"We are going to replace him, we can't play with 10," Kinnear quipped.
Potential options include continuing to play midfielder-turned-left-back Corey Ashe at the position with Jamaican international Jermaine Taylor filling the hole at left back. The Dynamo went that route when Davis got hurt in the first half of the Eastern Conference final against Sporting Kansas City.
Kinnear disclosed that Colin Clark has returned to full training after not appearing at all in the postseason and also remains an option. His last appearance was a nine-minute cameo off the bench in the regular-season finale, which came against the Galaxy.
As for replacing Davis' potency on set pieces, Adam Moffat figures to get the nod on free kicks after delivering a stout showing as Davis' understudy in the conference final.
"We have to concentrate on making sure our delivery is good, because the players we have attacking the ball I think pose problems for many teams around the league if we have the right service," Kinnear said. "It's up to the guy on the ball to put the ball into the right area. They don't have to do what Brad does."
KEANE RETURNS FIT FROM INTERNATIONAL DUTY
Robbie Keane returned to Galaxy training on Thursday after helping the Republic of Ireland clinch a place in the Euro 2012 finals with appearances in both legs of the 5-1 aggregate triumph over Estonia this past week.
Keane, who scored twice in the opening leg last Friday, is fully fit and ready to go for Sunday's MLS Cup final.
"We're certainly happy to have Robbie back in one piece," Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. "He's an important part of our team. Since Day 1 he's fit in with the team. We're real pleased to have him ready to go on Sunday."
KINNEAR TIPS CAMERON FOR U.S. CALL
Geoff Cameron has been a standout performer since returning to centerback on a full-time basis for the Dynamo, so much so that plenty of fans, pundits and his head coach believe that he merits a look from U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
"Geoff at centerback makes us a better defensive team. I don't think that's a secret," Kinnear said. "He's found a good spot for him on the domestic scene, and hopefully that play and that improvement leads to a spot on the international scene for him."
Cameron was a Best XI performer on defense two years ago and has replicated that form since shifting back following the emergence of Luiz Camargo and Moffat as the Dynamo's central-midfield pairing.
TEAMS COPE WITH TWO-WEEK LAYOFF
Through a scheduling quirk, the MLS Cup playoffs overlapped with a FIFA international fixture window, meaning that two weeks have separated the MLS conference finals and the MLS Cup final.
While the break provides a chance for all players on the Galaxy and Dynamo to regain health and rest ahead of the most important match of the season, it also can halt the positive momentum built over the course of the fast-paced opening rounds of the playoffs.
"I would've loved to play the game a week ago," veteran Houston striker Brian Ching said. "You're kind of on a roll, you don't want to have to take a break, things are going good, you don't want to have to sit down and think too much. I thought we were playing well. I still think our practices have been fantastic, but in a perfect world you would love to have played the game a week after we played Kansas City."