CARSON, California (Reuters) - Chelsea ended their pre-season tour of the U.S. with a 1-0 win against Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday in a match highlighted by David Beckham’s long-awaited debut for the hosts.
Chelsea captain John Terry scored the only goal in the 49th minute after being lined up by Joe Cole, driving a powerful shot into the right post before the ball ricocheted into the net.
U.S. international striker Landon Donovan came close to equalising for the Galaxy in the 70th minute after latching onto a cross from Quavas Kirk but he headed over the bar.
Beckham, signed by the Galaxy from Real Madrid on a $32.5 million five-year deal, came on as a substitute in the 78th minute and helped steady the midfield with a polished cameo performance.
His mere appearance on the bench seemed to lift his new team mates, who delivered one of their best performances in an otherwise dismal campaign.
The Galaxy have won only three of their 12 Major League Soccer games this season and languish second bottom in the Western standings.
They also failed to reach the U.S. Open Cup quarter-finals after losing 1-0 at lowly Richmond Kickers last week.
“LA played the game with a lot of passion, I think maybe they waited to show David Beckham they have a team,” Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho told reporters.
“They were highly motivated and they gave us a hard game. I think this is the correct attitude to play football. If they continue doing this, they will get results and they will improve.”
Mourinho felt the FA Cup holders should have won by a wider margin given the number of scoring opportunities they created.
“But I am happy with the game and we finished this part of the pre-season without injuries so I go back to London happy with these 15 days,” he added.
A capacity crowd of 27,000 at the Home Depot Center was treated to plenty of end-to-end action in the opening half.
Galaxy goalkeeper Joe Cannon pulled off a good save in the 11th minute, parrying a powerful left-footed strike on the half-volley by Florent Malouda after a cross from Paolo Ferreira.
Two minutes later, Chelsea keeper Petr Cech was forced to make successive saves as Galaxy pushed forward, the last of them a thunderous shot from midfielder Cobi Jones on the right.
Jones was the creator in the 19th minute with a perfectly weighted, curling cross from the right but Kyle Martino pushed his diving header to the left of goal.
Galaxy defender Ty Harden headed out a probing cross from Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim in the 21st minute with his goalkeeper Cannon stranded on the ground.
Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou had space just inside the penalty area in the 23rd minute after cleverly trapping a through ball but shot wide of goal.
Five minutes later, Kalou blasted a powerful shot over the crossbar from well outside the area.
Cech was forced to make another excellent save in the 39th minute, tipping a header from Galaxy defender Abel Xavier over the bar following a freekick from Donovan.
The second half was highlighted by Terry’s goal and Beckham’s hotly anticipated debut in a Galaxy shirt.