The hosts moved up 2-1 as Hartnells defle from miaowang123's blog

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. Italy Jerseys . 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." Lorenzo Insigne Jersey . Old times for a defence that has looked just plain old recently? "No," safety Ryan Clark said. "We used to be much better than that. Roberto Soriano Jersey .Y. - Rob Manfred was promoted Monday to Major League Baseballs chief operating officer, which may make him a candidate to succeed Bud Selig as commissioner.Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Scott Hartnell tallied twice in his return from injury, while Kevin Connauton added a goal and two assists, as Columbus used a strong second period to claim a 6-2 victory over Boston at Nationwide Arena. Nick Foligno, Matt Calvert and Jeremy Morin also lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who improved to 9-1-1 in the month of December. Jack Johnson and Brandon Dubinsky each chipped in a pair of helpers to back a 26-save effort from Curtis McElhinney. Patrice Bergeron and Craig Cunningham scored for the Bruins, who had taken three of their last four coming in. Niklas Svedberg and Tuukka Rask both allowed three goals on 15 shots. The hosts moved up 2-1 as Hartnells deflection of a Ryan Johansen point offering slid through the traffic in the crease and in just 51 seconds into the second period. Tempers flared just short of the three-minute mark as Dalton Prout and Milan Lucic engaged in a spirited fight, and it spurred the Jackets, who took a 3-1 lead at 6:32 on a Connauton strike. Foligno pushed the advantage to three on a power play just short of the midway point of regulation, and though Cunningham responded for Boston at 16:28, the hosts hit intermission back up by three following Calverts marker with 51 seconds left. Emanuele Giaccherini Jersey. Columbus assumed a 6-2 advantage with 7:35 played in the third after Morin picked up a loose puck on the left wing, skated back to the circle and scored with a high wrister. Hartnell put the hosts on the board when he chopped a backhander off a Connauton rebound from the right side through Svedbergs pads at 8:11. The Bruins responded 20 seconds later on Bergerons wrister from the left side. Game Notes Hartnell came back after a five-game absence due to a broken finger and picked up his third multi-goal effort of the season and first since Nov. 8 against Tampa Bay ... Johansen finished 20-of-27 from the faceoff circle ... Sergei Bobrovsky carried a lifetime 0-2-2 record vs. Boston, but was scratched with a stomach illness ... The Bruins begin a three-game homestand against Detroit on Monday ... The Blue Jackets are off until New Years Eve when they host Minnesota. Cheap NFL JerseysCheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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