David Beckham is less an athlete than a cult of personality. With a reported $250 million-dollar contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy, Becks as the British tabloid media has dubbed him was supposed to popularize soccer in a country where games between seven-year-olds draw closer scrutiny than the professional league. His injury-plagued 2007 season was a disappointment, but a healthy Beckham will lead the Galaxy against the Colorado Rapids in the 2008 season opener tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods Park (7887 East 60th Avenue in Commerce City). Tickets are $12 to $35; visit www.coloradorapids.com or call 303-405-1100 for information.
For their part, the Rapids are looking to rebound after a frustrating season in which they recorded just 35 points and missed the MLS playoffs. Led by captain and U.S. National Team member Pablo Mastroeni, the Rapids have made several off-season acquisitions to improve their squad, chief among them a trade for midfielder Christian Gomez, the 2006 MLS MVP.
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Still, there's little doubt as to the main attraction when the two teams take the field. While it seems unlikely that Beckham can single-handedly elevate the MLS to Premier League status, his famous footwork and ball-bending ability should, at the very least, provide more kicks than your daughter's team.
Sat., March 29, 7:30 p.m., 2008