CARSON, Calif.--David Beckham and Peter Vagenas were teammates for two years on the Los Angeles Galaxy. During that time, the England star apparently caught Vagenas with some nippy challenges in training.
“He's tackled me worse,” Vagenas told Goal.com of Beckham's studs-up challenge which earned the England international an ejection in the 17th minute of the game between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Vagenas' new club, Seattle Sounders FC. “It is what it is.”
When asked if the tackle deserved a red card, Vagenas was elusive in his answer.
“It hurt,” he said. “Personally, I didn't want to see the game being played 11 v. 10. It didn't feel good, but I've been hit worse.”
Vagenas took several minutes of walking off the tackle on the sidelines before he returned to the game to help his side win 2-0 over his old teammates.
For Beckham's part, he acknowledged the friendship with Vagenas and said there was no malice in his tackle.
“Pete's one of my best friends,” he said. “I think it was a hard tackle but by no means a red card. I've never gone into one tackle wanting to hurt someone. Hard tackle but definitely not malicious and in my eyes definitely not a red card.”
Beckham went on to give a familiar line about the standard of refereeing in Major League Soccer.
“That's the inconsistency we've got, unfortunately, with some of the officials in the league,” Beckham said. While he didn't think it was an offense warranting an ejection, Becks admitted that referee Ricardo Salazar had a different take on things. “The referee saw it different. Maybe he'll decide against it when he sees a replay.”
An overturning of the decision is unlikely, especially given the response of Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena to the card that effectively undermined his side's ability to get a result in the home game.
“When you throw yourself into that kind of tackle there's a chance you're going to get sent off,” Arena said in the post-game press conference. “He's been in enough rodeos to know that.”
While Beckham's history of attending, let alone participating in, rodeos remains unknown, the ejection marks a first for the 34-year-old. It's Beckham's first red card in MLS play, and his first since February 17, 2007 when he suited up for Real Madrid against Real Betis in La Liga play.
Zac Lee Rigg, Goal.com
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