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Beckham scores twice as Galaxy tie Real Salt Lake 2-2

Beckham scores twice as Galaxy tie Real Salt Lake 2-2

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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By DOUG ALDEN AP Sports Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Beckham has his bend back.

David Beckham scored twice on his trademark long, curving kicks and rallied the Los Angeles Galaxy to a 2-2 tie against Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Beckham worked on his kicks after practice several times last week because he had been off target too often. He regained his touch Saturday.

"Sometimes it works. Sometimes it don't. Tonight they did," he said.

The first was from about 25 yards, where Beckham took a bouncing pass and had enough time to control the ball and rear back for a kick that curved around the defense and past Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando inside the far post.

The second goal didn't have quite the arc of the first, but thrilled fans just as much because they could see this one coming. The Galaxy got a free kick from 29 yards out in the middle of the field, where Beckham prepared as Real tried to set up a defense for the shot.

There was little they could do to stop this one. Beckham kicked another bender inside the left post and past Rimando, who once again couldn't dive quite far enough to stop it. Rimando did save Salt Lake at the end when he stopped Landon Donovan on a point-blank header late in the second half.

Donovan had eight goals in the first five games for the Galaxy (2-2-2).

"It was obviously my turn to score the goals tonight instead of Landon," Beckham said.

Fabian Espindola and Kenny Deuchar scored early in the first half for Real Salt Lake (1-3-2).

Beckham scored in the 36th minute and 40th minute, tying the game after Real had taken a 2-0 lead. He came close to a third goal, but got upended before he could get off a shot toward the open net in the second half, which the Galaxy controlled after falling behind 2-0 early in the first half.

The last time Beckham played in this stadium was August 2006 in an exhibition when he was still with Real Madrid. His return Saturday drew a crowd of 25,500, the third-largest in Real Salt Lake history. The only bigger crowds were for the Madrid game and to see a doubleheader with the U.S. national team against Costa Rica in 2005.

The fans were basically cheering for the home team -- and Beckham.

"I thought we had a fantastic crowd and I think we disappointed that crowd," Real coach Jason Kreis said.

Beckham, on the other hand, did not disappoint. After the post-game handshake, he took off his jersey and handed it to one very ecstatic teenage girl in the front row, then waved to the rest of the fans as he trotted off the field.

He wasn't the only star for Los Angeles. Goalkeeper Steve Cronin knocked away some tough shots to preserve the draw and finished with five saves. Although Donovan didn't score, he was in position a few times and got an assist on Beckham's first goal.

Real had an opportunity to win in front of one of the biggest crowds they're going to see this year, but couldn't hang on.

"It's disappointing to lose a two-goal lead," Deuchar said. "We've got to be more ruthless."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-05-03-08 2242MDT

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