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Oates said the penalty on Ovechkin was a 
By krstking2 on Jun 10, 2014 06:44 AM
LOS ANGELES -- Commissioner Don Garber thought he knew what Major League Soccer was getting into when the Los Angeles Galaxy signed David Beckham more than four years ago. Dallas Mavericks Jersey . Garber now realizes he had no idea what the Beckham Experience would mean for his fledgling league. A few days before Beckham plays for his first MLS title in the final days of his Galaxy contract, Garber says the league doesnt regret inviting the English superstar to become the face of MLS in 2007. "I underestimated the power of his celebrity by a long shot," Garber said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I think we underestimated the challenge of (Beckham) playing for England, and we didnt expect his desire to go out on loan (to AC Milan). But I also totally underestimated how hardworking and tough he is. He will play through injury and fatigue. That warrior-like mentality was like nobody expected in MLS. This guy wants to win, and hell do anything. Hes been great for our league and for our game." Garber spoke at length about MLS past while outlining his goals for the leagues future, from an expansion franchise in the New York area to the growing role of supporters in MLS competitive culture. Hes also hoping the Beckham experience lasts for at least another year, putting his weight behind the Galaxys bid to persuade Beckham to stick around after his best MLS season concludes this year. "I find it amusing that when David came into the league five years ago, many sports media pundits were saying how much hes over the hill," Garber said of Beckham, whose services are coveted by Paris Saint-Germain and a handful of British clubs. "You dont hear that any more, and this is five years later." Garber also is happy about the Galaxys serendipitous appearance in the MLS Cup on Sunday on their home field. Los Angeles faces the Houston Dynamo on Sunday at Home Depot Center. "At times Im almost envious of other leagues championships when it ends up with a dream matchup," Garber said, citing the recent appearances of marquee franchises such as the Yankees, Lakers and Packers in other sports championship contests. "Those matchups always seem to deliver greater value to their league in the years to come, and we have not really experienced that." The Galaxy are playing the final in their home stadium, just the third time thats happened in MLS 16 seasons. A similar coincidence boosted the popularity of the New England Revolution in 2002, even though they lost the league title to Los Angeles at home. Garber confirmed MLS is likely to change the championship format soon from a neutral-site game to a championship matchup at the home of the highest-seeded club. "Theres something much more special when the home team is involved," he said, suggesting the league will consider additional changes to the playoff format in the off-season. With exponential growth in attendance and television exposure this season, along with a 19th franchise joining the league in Montreal next year, its clear MLS is making progress in the long-growth strategy Garber has espoused since moving to MLS in 1999 from a job with the NFL. Yet Garber also feels the leagues 35 designated-player signings have been crucial to its growth into a reputable league. "Its hard for any young, emerging business to not be guilty at times of overhype," Garber said. "While at times I regret how hyped we were when Freddy Adu came into the league (in 2004) or when David came in, I dont regret the excitement that David created by coming in. I had the expectation that MLS would become more popular, that wed see improved ratings and a different attitude." MLS television ratings rose on each of its platforms this season, and attendance grew more than 7 per cent. MLS will appear on the new NBC Sports network next year in a lucrative deal, and the Galaxy announced a reported 10-year, $55 million deal with Time Warner Cable Sports new network on Friday -- a tenfold increase on its last deal. Merchandise sales also are up, driven by the new layer of star players and MLS attention to eye-catching design with an international flair. Yet Garber said hes most pleased by the growth of what he calls "the supporter culture" around each team. From Seattle to Philadelphia, MLS fans are emulating the involved attention given to soccer clubs on other continents in increasing numbers -- and in surprising ways. "When youre a fan of other major leagues in America, the experience is somewhat similar," Garber said. "Youre in a bright facility and youre watching your team, but there is an institutionalization of sport that in many ways forced the fan to be an observer more than a participant. In soccer, the fan is that third key constituency. Weve even seen the downside of that, but thats very positive for us today. Thats what we want to instil and create in our fans." Garber is pleased to see a proliferation of "20- to 30-year-old hipsters" in MLS crowds, wearing team garb and reveling in a sporting pursuit with a different flavour than the standard American sports enthusiast. Garbers passion for stirring fan support is the main reason MLS is focused on putting its 20th franchise in the New York area. The commissioner scoffed at recent reports that the New York expansion plan had stumbled, insisting the league will figure out a plan to create a natural rival for the Red Bulls. "We believe that big markets need rivalries," Garber said. "If we truly are engaged in the unique dynamic that drives our sport, inner-city rivalries are a big part of driving fan passion." Authentic Dallas Mavericks Jersey . Montreal (0-3-0) directed 25 shots toward the Seattle goal on Sunday, but couldnt find the net. And then the Impact fell victim to defensive lapses as the Sounders spoiled its home opener at Olympic Stadium with a 2-0 victory on Sunday. Authentic Mavericks Jersey . -- Roger Clemens tried to get across a sense of urgency to Houston Astros pitchers Wednesday.WASHINGTON -- Check two more items off the list in an impressive homestretch by the Boston Bruins. They are now Atlantic Division champions, and Jarome Iginla has recovered from his slow start to reach 30 goals once again. Boston accomplished those feats Saturday against the Washington Capitals, a desperate team whose first and foremost goal -- making the playoffs for a seventh straight season -- looked a bit more distant after Saturdays 4-2 loss. "We need these wins so bad," Washington defenceman Karl Alzner said, "that sometimes you overplay. It can be a big problem that can really mess your game up." And its not a good idea to mess up against the Bruins, who have won 14 of 15 and have allowed only 13 goals over 11 games. Iginla scored twice, and Carl Soderberg added a goal to give Boston a 3-0 lead in the second period, more than enough to hold off a surge from a Washington team that woke up too late. The Bruins had already clinched a playoff spot, so the division title didnt create so much as a celebratory ripple in the locker room. "We dont even talk about that. I wasnt even -- I knew there was something that would happen if we won tonight, but we find out now weve clinched and thats fine," coach Claude Julien said. "Again, weve got an opportunity to do even more than that." Patrice Bergeron added a third-period goal to extend his goal-scoring streak to a career-high six games, and Chad Johnson made 31 saves. Iginla reached the 30-goal mark for the 12th time, a nice comeback after scoring only four in the first 24 games this season. "When you look at the start he had, nobody would have predicted that," Julien said. "But hes a pretty streaky goal-scorer." Iginla now has 10 goals in nine games. "Ive been getting some good bounces lately, and its been a fun year," he said. "Fun to win games and be at the top of the league, and to be on some streaks as a group." Washington began the day tied with Columbus, Detroit and Toronto in what has essentially become a four-way race for two playoff spots, but the Capitals would lose a tiebreaker against all three teams. The Bruins gave the CCapitals top-rated power play only three chances, and they corralled Alex Ovechkin enough to keep the NHLs leading goal scorer in a 5-on-5 slump. Mavericks Jersey. Ovechkin has 48 goals this season, but hasnt scored at even-strength since Feb. 27. The Capitals had no shots on goal in the first 6 minutes and only two after 14 minutes. The game was scoreless after the first period solely because of goalie Braden Holtby, but he could hold down the fort for only so long. A turnover at centre ice allowed Soderberg to spring Iginla for a breakaway that opened the scoring in the second period. A few minutes later, Soderberg redirected an already deflected shot by Bergeron on a power play to make it 2-0, and Iginla made it a three-goal lead by stuffing in his own rebound 41 seconds later. Washington coach Adam Oates said he was "shocked" at how poorly his team started. "I thought our forechecking was lousy," Oates said. When the Capitals finally turned up the intensity, it came from the third line that has led the team in recent weeks. Jason Chimera put Washington on the board with 10 seconds remaining in the second period, and a dominant shift by Chimeras line drew a penalty on Andrej Meszaros in the third. But the Capitals couldnt score during the man-advantage, and soon the Bruins had a power play of their own. With Ovechkin off for charging, Bergeron put in a rebound to restore the three-goal cushion. Oates said the penalty on Ovechkin was a "terrible" call. "I dont like the call, but he called it," Oates said. "He saw something that I dont agree with now, but our job is to kill it." NOTES: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his second NHL goal in the final minute. ... Capitals D Jack Hillen sat out with an upper-body injury sustained in a collision with Ovechkin during overtime of Tuesdays loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Hillen was replaced by John Erskine, who had been out with a lower-body injury and played for the first time since March 5. ... The Capitals are the last team to beat the Bruins in regulation, a 4-2 win on March 1. Since then, Boston has outscored opponents 54-20 in non-shootout goals. ' ' '
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