David Beckham is finally—finally—making his Toronto debut, and as we suspected it won’t be with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Instead, he’ll be the featured attraction of Major League Soccer’s annual all-star game, which this year pits the very best of MLS against the very mediocre West Ham United of the English Premiership.
As glamour match-ups go, this year’s game is a step below last year’s when the MLS all-stars took on Celtic F.C. of the Scottish Premier League. Toronto soccer fans might even think it’s a step below last summer’s friendly between Toronto F.C. and Aston Villa, who finished the English season four league places ahead of West Ham. Still, this year the opponent isn’t the featured attraction; no, that would be Mr. Beckham, who spent the better part of last week’s ESPY Awards in Los Angeles being fawned over by Justin Timberlake. Beckham Mania is still alive and well, even if its success can’t be quantified. Tonight’s game will provide yet another opportunity for him to showcase his talents, even if it’s on behalf of a league which isn’t nearly as big as some people would insist.
It’s ironic that Beckham is making his first MLS All-Star Game appearance in a city whose team hardly needs the added exposure. Toronto F.C. is well on its way to being the league’s model franchise, and despite middling results on the field they’re as hot a ticket as ever. Still, after missing his first two scheduled Toronto appearances, it’ll be nice to see Beckham running out onto BMO Field’s synthetic turf. And as is often the case where David Beckham is concerned, his performance will be secondary to his mere presence.
Photo by sthursby from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.