Even without Beckham, Galaxy stirs Triangle soccer fans
Posted May 28, 2012
Updated May 29, 2012
Cary, N.C. — The Los Angeles Galaxy will be without star midfielder David Beckham when they play the Carolina RailHawks in Cary on Tuesday night, but that hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of area soccer fans.
Giovanni Solis attended the Galaxy's practice on Monday at WakeMed Soccer Park so he could snag the autographs of some Major League Soccer players.
"I got a whole bunch of signatures," Solis said. "It's pretty cool seeing them practice and all of that stuff."
The RailHawks, who play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), have the chance to play the defending MLS champs as part of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, a tournament that pits soccer teams from amateur to professional against each other in increasingly difficult levels of competition.
Tickets to the Open Cup tournament game sold out in less than four hours, and the demand was so great that Cary hastened the completion of a new $6.3 million grandstand in the north end zone to accommodate the extra fans. The area received the needed safety approvals last week, opening up 1,400 more seats for the game.
"I heard that there are going to be a few more people at the game than normal," Galaxy forward Edson Buddle said. "I expect a good competitive match."
RailHawks officials said fans from 13 states and 123 cities purchased tickets to Tuesday's game.
Having the most recognized team in U.S. soccer play in the Triangle is a big deal, even if the team's most recognized player won't be here, RailHawks officials said.
"It's great for the players. It's what they live for and what they look forward to. It's a chance for them to be in the shop window against an MLS team," coach Colin Clark said.
Galaxy officials said Beckham, along with five other team members who played in Houston on Saturday, was sent back to California to rest up for their next MLS game. U.S. Soccer's all-time leader in goals and assists, Landon Donovan, will also be missing in action for the Galaxy as he prepares to play for the national team against Brazil on Wednesday.
"Am I disappointed? Probably not," RailHawks captain Kupono Low said of missing Beckham. "He won't be on the field. What we want to do is win and advance in the Open Cup."
Tuesday's match will be the first ever meeting between the Galaxy and the RailHawks. kick-off is set for 7 p.m.
With a victory against the Galaxy, the RailHawks would host the fourth round matchup against the winner of the match between MLS’ Chivas USA and PDL side Ventura County Fusion.