March 7, 2012
TFC fans razz Beckham
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - While there have been soccer crowds of 40,000-plus before at the Rogers Centre, there has never been a large one as partisan as Wednesday night’s gathering.
Instead of a 50-50 or 60-40 split like we’ve seen for most international friendlies, the announced crowd of 47,658 was make up of 90% TFC backers, 1% Galaxy supporters and 9% David Beckham groupies.
It made for quite the atmosphere.
Even with three-quarters of the fans not yet in their seats, there were loud boos for the Galaxy when they took the field and louder cheers for the home side.
Beckham was hit by a well-placed streamer as he exited just prior to the start of the match and the cheers for the English international superstar were drowned out by the boos.
There was much more to come.
Joao Plata got the loudest ovation in player intros and Beckham gave the diminutive Ecuadorian a pat on the shoulder after the pre-game handshakes.
The displeasure for Beckham grew more venomous as he headed to take a corner kick in the third minute but had to wait a couple of minutes to take it due to all the streamers being pelted at him. That process repeated itself a couple more times during the match.
The crowd didn’t take kindly to Mike Magee — completely offside — chipping a shot over Frei and into the goal.
They liked it even less when he actually notched a goal.
Prior to that, when Toronto’s Ryan Johnson opened the scoring in the 11th minute, the roar was deafening and he celebrated with a jumping, spinning kick to the corner flag any MMA fighter would be proud of.
The roof nearly came off when Luis Silva made it 2-0 and the overjoyed spectators deeply enjoyed every Beckham miscue, all of which were met with mocking derision.
The spectators deserved credit for their knowledge of the game, which was a bit of a concern heading in, considering there were nearly twice as many TFC fans at the match as when they play at the smaller BMO Field.