TFC sells out Real Madrid friendly

Lance Hornby, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 4:41 PM ET

Despite all the carping from fans about the high prices, Toronto FC announced today that tickets for their friendly against Real Madrid on Aug. 7 are sold out.

Protests were loud when the game was announced in bits and pieces and not included on the season's tickets packages, but with subscribers given a chance to buy in at a special loyalty price, starting at $125 up towards $200, it took about two weeks to sell the 20,000 seats at BMO Field.

"We're excited to host one of the most popular and successful football teams in the world," Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and COO for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, said in a release. "Our players are looking forward to the challenge of playing against a club of Real Madrids caliber."

Real Madrid's summer transfers such as Kaka must play a minimum of 45 minutes unless injured. The game is costing MLSEL about $250,000 extra for real grass for one night, with the sod to be installed on top of the FieldTurf system.

ALI FOR ONE: As expected, TFC officially added Canadian forward Ali Gerba today, though he can't play until July 15th under international transfer rules.

"Ali is a very strong player, he's quick, he's got an eye for the goal and he's someone that will help us down the stretch," general manager Mo Johnston said in a statement. "We've tried to get him in here before and he's shown a real desire to play here - so we're looking forward to getting him on the pitch with the rest of the squad."

Gerba, 26, will report to Los Angeles this week for duty with Canada's team in the Gold Cup tournament. He was released from his contract with English League One team Milton Keynes Dons earlier this year. A former member of the Toronto Lynx, he had 17 goals in 32 games in his final two years at home.

Born in Cameroon and raised in Montreal, he has made 23 international appearances for Canada.

BULLS SESSION: New York, New York, a team so nice, they're playing it twice.

A scheduling quirk caused by the Real Madrid friendly means Toronto FC gets the last-place Red Bulls at home twice in 11 days. Coming off their high of winning the Nutrilite Canadian championship in Montreal last week, conditions are right for TFC (5-5-4) to get a second triumph over New York tomorrow at BMO Field.

It would also be the first time in five tries in team history that TFC could capture consecutive games against the same Major League Soccer opponent.

Just don't mention any of this too loudly around coach Chris Cummins and his players who are very wary of taking the Bulls too lightly tonight. New York (2-10-4) almost had its first road win of the season here on June 13 as Toronto clung to a 2-1 win.

"New York will be a tough, they had a draw on the weekend (1-1 against Seattle) and it's important we get as far away from them as we can in the league," Cummins said.

"(The Montreal game) is behind us now. We need to be a lot more consistent and we've said that from day one of the season. It's important we use that result as a springboard, that we don't rest on it."

TFC could be without attacking midfielder Amado Guevara (toe) and defender Adrian Serioux (ankle) for tonight. After this game, TFC plays four of their next five MLS games on the road.


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