Beckham-type is not for TFC

David Beckham makes his way to the bench before the first half of action between the Toronto FC and...

David Beckham makes his way to the bench before the first half of action between the Toronto FC and the L.A. Galaxy at B.M.O. Field August 5th, 2007. (Dave Abel/Sun Media)

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

Other than the comely lass sporting the homemade David Beckham T-shirt with 'Bend Me' written on the back, Toronto will have to get by this year without seeing soccer royalty in full dress.

The next time someone with this kind of wow factor comes to BMO Field might not be until next July's Major League Soccer all-star game when Beckham and perhaps more high-profile ringers from Europe and South America are in vogue.

Beckham was glued to the Los Angeles Galaxy bench last night, making a low-key entrance from the tunnel between the anthems, in a crisp business suit.

His image on the scoreboard created a buzz, but the fans eventually paid more attention to the close 0-0 game and that told a story in itself. There is just no urgency on TFC's part to open the wallet for a Beckham-type player this early in franchise history.

Their 15 home games will be sellouts, on the strength of 14,000 capped season's tickets, and while they're nip and tuck to make the playoffs, one big gun likely won't make a difference now.

In the midst of this Beckham-mania, TFC coach Mo Johnston agreed this expansion team doesn't need the weight of a star player on a newly-laid foundation and his bosses at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. concur.

"Mo's philosophy is 'build it from the ground up,' " MLSEL senior vice-president Tom Anselmi said last night. "Then, if the right guy comes along, bring it to the board of directors and we'll look at it.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said at halftime that he expects the Beckham wave to help a projected expansion from 13 teams to 18 by 2012, with San Jose coming in next season and Montreal and Vancouver possibly on the radar. He reported MLS merchandise is selling at a post-Beckham increase of 300%. But he urged teams to "use their pencils wisely" when going after expensive talent.

L.A. coach Frank Yallop said he wasn't trying to trick local fans by not scratching the sore-ankled Beckham as far back as Monday.

"I had to say day-to-day because he was," Yallop said, adding that another good run yesterday means a slim chance of Beckham starting Thursday in Washington, D.C.

He said Beckham's eventual presence in the L.A. midfield would give the team help at both ends, comparing it to the work Carl Robinson does as "the heartbeat" of TFC.


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