Commerce City, Colo. - Given the international fame of LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham, it's not surprising that soccer fans in every MLS market get excited at the opportunity to watch him play in person when he visits their city. Just don't expect the opposing players to have the same sentiment.
It is still unknown if Beckham will play Sunday when the Galaxy visit the Rapids for a 5 pm match Sunday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park (Tickets). However, Beckham, who has missed LA's last three matches with an injury, told LAGalaxy.com on Friday that not only does he hope to play, but he is hopeful to play the full match.
“We have to wait and see,” Beckham told LAGalaxy.com on Friday. “Obviously, you have to build it up again and judge how I feel during the game and what Bruce and the physios think. Hopefully I can play 90, but with the altitude and it is my first game back after three-and-half weeks… I hope that I can do it.”
Beckham is one of three designated players on the Galaxy, which also features U.S. star Landon Donovan and Ireland's all-time leading scorer, Robbie Keane. All three played 90 minutes in LA's 2-1 win in Commerce City in April.
MATCH PREVIEW: Colorado vs LA Galaxy
But LA also counts on a solid core of lower-profile players that have been just as influential in helping the Galaxy turn around their season. LA began 2012 with 3-8-2 record but have gone 12-3-2 since and already secured their place in the upcoming playoffs.
"Personally, I have a lot of respect for well-known players - players that have won many things. But on the field, I forget who they are," said Rapids holding midfielder Hendry Thomas, who faced many world-class players during his three years playing with Wigan in the English Premier League.
"I try to defend my jersey, and my teammates feel the same. So here we don't look at their names, just at the eleven men on the other team that are equal to us."
Thomas says the Rapids must learn from the match at LA two weeks ago, where the Galaxy's heavy pressure early on resulted in a goal that the Rapids could never overcome in falling 2-0 at The Home Depot Center.
"We have to keep maturing, realizing that the first minutes are key," Thomas said. "At times it seems our team has taken some time to react, but as the game goes on we've played better soccer. We're expecting that on Sunday - from start to finish - we enter the field dictating play and trying to win the game."
The Honduran international also believes playing at home can be a big difference as the team tries to stay in the hunt for a playoff berth..
"The advantage we have is that we're playing at home, with our supporters behind us," he said. "And inside the lines of play, we'll apply what we've been working on this week knowing that every game moving forward is a final."