TORONTO — Until David Beckham walks toward the southeast corner of BMO Field as an LA player, his MLS experience can’t really be complete.
Beckham is finally coming to Toronto to play a competitive game (Wednesday, 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live in US; GOLTV in Canada). Yes, there was an All-Star game in 2008, but Beckham wasn’t the villain that night.
Although Beckham has faced the Reds in LA, he has never played for three points in Toronto because of either injuries, concerns with the former playing surface at BMO Field or international duty.
Still, he's glad he'll finally getting a chance to play in front of Toronto's famously raucous fans.
“It’s a great city,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “The two times that I’ve actually been here I’ve enjoyed myself. I’m glad to be back.”
Beckham gave credit to Toronto’s “great” fans and admitted he was happy some fans are excited to watch him live. However, he reminded the throng of media – not all there to talk about the soccer, it must be said – he was in Toronto to do a job. And that job was to play midfield for the LA Galaxy.
Brushing aside questions about viral videos (yes, it was real, he curtly said of the recent Diet Pepsi ad) and of his growing family (“It’s exciting,” was all that was offered up regarding the impending birth of his first daughter), it was made clear that he was mostly interested in talking about the task at hand.
“It’s important [that we win],” he said. “We played well [against D.C. United], but the way it ended was tough. We’ve moved on and are looking forward.”
As stated, you can’t really fault the Toronto fans for getting caught up in the hype. Actually, for some it might be a little off-putting that it’s taken this long for Beckham to play the Reds here. After all, TFC’s debut in MLS was arguably every bit as important as Beckham's in 2007.
Although both TFC and Beckham have occasionally struggled to live up to their early hype – The Reds have yet to make the MLS Cup Playoffs and Beckham has only averaged a little more than 13 games a season over the four years – both have made an impact on the league.
Beckham has opened the eyes of the world’s biggest stars to the possibility of playing in MLS while Toronto provided the business template that every new expansion team follows.
Actually, it’s about time the two stars of the MLS class of 2007 finally met.