Football

Beckham plays down LA Galaxy favourites tag

David Beckham has been quick to play down talk of favourites and underdogs ahead of Thursday night’s MLS play-off clash between LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps.

Last year’s MLS Cup winners produced a strong finish to their domestic campaign, but still only finished in fourth-place in the Western Conference after a dismal start at The Home Depot Centre.

That means the Galaxy face a tricky looking knockout round clash against the Canadians before a potential semi-final showdown against state-rivals the San Jose Earthquakes.

Beckham is refusing to look ahead to Sunday however, and insists his side can’t afford to take the Whitecaps lightly in a one-off format.

“The attitude is that we need to continue the roll that we’ve been on over the last few months. We didn’t start the season well, but I think at the end of the season – the important part of the season – we’ve come good and we’ve come together,” he told a group of journalists pre-match.

“Our character and performances have brought us through to the play-offs. You always set goals at the start of the season, and the goal for us was to reach the play-offs. We’ve done that, but now we’ve got a tough match on Thursday.

“We know that Vancouver are going to come here believing that they can beat us in our own stadium. People may be looking at them as the underdogs, but I don’t see it that way. There are no underdogs in a one-off game in my eyes.

“They can come here and think that they are playing in another stadium and the pressure is off them. We have to be very cautious of Vancouver because we know that they can play and cause us problems and score goals.”

When fit, former England captain Beckham has played well this season, although it’s Robbie Keane who leads the team in terms of goals, scoring 16 for the LA Galaxy.

USA captain Landon Donovan has nine, as well as 14 assists for his side. Beckham has nine assists, but will hope to build on that tally in the play-offs – starting against their Canadian opponents tonight.

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