David Beckham, hampered by a back problem, played a full match in the LA Galaxy's 2-1 loss to the Australian A-League's Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
Landon Donovan of the United States put the Galaxy ahead in the eighth minute.
Beckham started the sequence that led to Donovan's goal.
His pass found striker Edson Buddle, who combined with Chris Birchall before Sean Franklin whipped in a cross.
Jets defender Taylor Regan and goalkeeper Matthew Nash both missed the ball in a mixup, allowing Donovan to finish for the goal.
The Galaxy could have doubled the lead minutes later when a long-range shot from Juninho struck the underside of the bar and appeared to cross the line, but was not awarded.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena praised Beckham after the match, saying the English star wasn't fit to play but insisted he wanted to stay on.
Beckham, who has also battled a groin injury in recent weeks, said he always wanted to play.
"I normally wouldn't have played but I think when a game like this comes up you want to play," Beckham said. "Tonight was tough obviously, getting myself fit for it.
"I haven't trained since our last game but aside from the back pain, I enjoyed the game ... the majority of time I was pain free."
Beckham said he was impressed by the quality of the Jets, saying he hoped to return to secure a win over Australian opposition.
"Maybe third time lucky," Beckham said. "It's obviously disappointing to lose the game tonight, but we'll be back."
At the end of the match, Beckham handed his shirt to a female fan in the crowd. He later sent a shirt to Newcastle captain Kasey Wehrman.
Sasho Petrovski and Labinot Haliti scored for Newcastle.
Beckham, who in 2007 thrilled a sold-out former Olympic Stadium with a trademark free kick in a 5-3 loss to Sydney FC in his last trip Down Under, almost repeated the effort with a powerful shot on the stroke of halftime against Newcastle that sailed just across the face of the goal.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star shrugged off the miss: "Some go in, some don't. Maybe in another game."