CARSON, California (Reuters) - David Beckham returned to competitive action for the first time in almost six months with a second half substitute appearance for the L.A. Galaxy in their 3-1 win over Major League Soccer rivals Columbus Crew on Saturday.

Beckham ruptured his Achilles tendon in March while playing on loan for AC Milan in Italy and missed out on England's campaign at the World Cup finals in South Africa.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder came on in the 70th minute of the game at the Home Depot Center with the Galaxy leading 3-0 against the Eastern Conference leaders.

"It feels amazing," Beckham said after the game, "Doing rehabilitation is kind of tough. That was a big win in a big game," he said.

"I was itching to get on but obviously I was restricted," added the 35-year-old.

The win, thanks to goals from Edson Buddle, Dema Kovalenko and Jovan Kirovski, sends the Galaxy back to the top of the Western Conference.

"I just want to add to the success the team had earlier in the season. We just have to continue," said Beckham.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Jacksonville; editing by Nick Mulvenney)