Tag Archive | "All-Stars"

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Beckhamania hits Toronto

Posted on 25 July 2008 by Scott Ferguson

David Beckham and the MLS All-Stars beat West Ham United 3-2 last night at BMO Field, marking the midfielder’s first game in Toronto and improving the league’s All-Star record against foreign opposition to 5 and 0. Chivas, Fulham, Chelsea and Celtic have all fallen to the All-Stars in recent years.

West Ham came out strong in the early minutes, with Carlton Cole showing the preseason form that saw him start the last Premier League campaign on fire.

FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper had the first real chance of the game, however, turning and firing in the 19th minute. The attentions of Hammers defender Joe Widdowson kept him from getting the shot on target towards Robert Green’s goal.

The game was quickly developing into a back-and-forth tug-of-war. The visitors opened the scoring in the 26th minute when Dean Ashton found himself free of the last defender and fired low into the far post.

The lead wouldn’t last, however, and with entertainment value the number one priority at BMO Field this week, Christian Gomez gave the fan’s their money’s worth with a quickfire equalizer. Beckham and Cuauhtemoc Blanco set up the Colorado Rapids midfielder, and Gomez coolly slotted home with West Ham having barely finished their goal celebrations.

The All-Stars kept up the attack and struck again just before half-time. Blanco collected a pass inside the area, cut inside onto his right foot and sent a curling effort past Green into the top corner.

Canadians and Houston Dynamo players Dwayne DeRosario and Pat Onstad entered the game in the second half to the delight of the Toronto crowd, but the fans were only truly placated when Toronto FC Captain Jim Brennan made his entrance close to the hour-mark.

Having played 90 minutes against Montreal on Tuesday, the full All-Star game would have been asking a lot from the Canadian international, but an extended run-out in front of his hometown fans was always on the cards.

The All-Stars looked capable of scoring again, but it was Ashton once again who quieted the crowd at BMO in the 67th minute. The former Norwich striker found space outside the area and struck a powerful shot that deflected off of Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad and into the net.

Just as in the aftermath of Ashton’s first goal, the All-Stars responded quickly. Red Bull New York forward Juan Pablo Angel sprung DeRosario with a perfectly-weighted through ball, and with the Canadian bearing down on goal, West Ham captain Lucas Neill had little choice but to hall down DeRo.

Referee Mauricio Navarro awarded the penalty for the All-Stars but was perhaps reluctant to hand out a red card in what is ultimately an exhibition match. Having drawn the foul, DeRosario was given the chance to score a penalty in front of his hometown crowd ahead of Beckham and game MVP Blanco.

The Canadian ace blasted his penalty off the crossbar and in to make it 3-2 amid the roars of the crowd, who had to wait for the ball to rebound into the netting before they were sure it was a goal. Angel “scored” a goal of his own just a minute later with a curling right-footed shot, but the linesman’s flag was up. Replays showed that Calum Davenport may have played the Colombian onside.

The game marked the first major showpiece at BMO Field, a ground that has been slated to host the MLS Cup final in 2009 and CONCACAF Gold Cup games the same year. Black t-shirts were in abundance but a proposed sit-down fan protest was largely muted.

“MLS showed that they can compete,” West Ham manager Alan Curbishley told reporters after the game. “It was a great game for MLS. It showed off their talents and when we go home it will be a big memory.”

Beckham was, as usual, the center of attention in Toronto, but the Englishman was full of praise for his teammates.

“Everybody knows the quality of player [Blanco] is,” Beckham said of the Chicago Fire forward and game MVP. “He is a great player, winning the award shows that.”

Earlier this week, Toronto FC lost out on the chance to represent Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League by drawing Montreal Impact 1-1 at home on Tuesday. Montreal needed only a draw to win the Canadian Championship and their seventh straight Voyageurs Cup and will play Nicaraguan side Real Estelí in a two-legged qualifier to determine entry into the potentially lucrative Champions League group stages.

The Impact will have taken heart from MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s media address during All-Star week, in which the Don stated that the league was looking to expand to two more teams by 2011. Montreal and Vancouver were mentioned on a shortlist of expansion candidates.

Match Facts

West Ham United vs. MLS All-Stars
July 24, 2008 — BMO Field

Scoring Summary:

WHU — Dean Ashton 1 (Carlton Cole 1) 26
MLS — Christian Gomez 1 (Cuauhtemoc Blanco 1, David Beckham 1) 27
MLS — Cuauhtemoc Blanco 1 (Juan Toja ) 43
WHU — Dean Ashton 2 (Luis Boa Morte ) 67
MLS — Dwayne De Rosario 1 (penalty kick) 69

Lineups:
West Ham United — Robert Green, Lucas Neill, Calum Davenport, Anton Ferdinand, Joe Widdowson, Julien Faubert (Junior Stanislas 75), Hayden Mullins (Jack Collison 65), Scott Parker, Matthew Etherington (Luis Boa Morte 46), Dean Ashton (Kyel Reid 80), Carlton Cole (Tony Stokes 91+),

Substitutes Not Used: Jordan Spence, James Walker

MLS All-Stars — Matt Reis (Pat Onstad 70), Jonathan Bornstein (Edson Buddle 88), Frankie Hejduk (Steve Ralston 88), Jimmy Conrad, Pablo Mastroeni, David Beckham, Christian Gomez (Jim Brennan 59), Shalrie Joseph, Juan Toja (Dwayne De Rosario 59), Kenny Cooper (Juan Pablo Angel 46), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Landon Donovan 46).

Substitutes Not Used:

Misconduct Summary:
WHU — Scott Parker (caution; Delaying a Restart) 46+
MLS — Jonathan Bornstein (caution; Pushing, Holding) 52
MLS — Frankie Hejduk (caution; Reckless Foul) 56
MLS — Jimmy Conrad (caution; Reckless Foul) 82

Referee: Mauricio Navarro
Referee’s Assistants: Hector Vergara; Greg Barkey
4th official: Mark Geiger
time of game: 1:53
attendance: 20,844
weather: Partly Cloudy -and- 72 degrees

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Toronto supporters to protest during All-Star game

Posted on 18 July 2008 by Scott Ferguson

A coalition of Toronto FC supporters groups plan to stage a silent protest during the upcoming Major League Soccer all-star game at BMO Field in Toronto.

TFC’s fans are noted for their boisterous support, but leading voices from each group are voicing their concerns about the possible expansion of BMO Field to accommodate CFL football and the Toronto Argonauts. Groups like the Red Patch Boys, U-Sector, Ultras 114 and the North End Elite feel are advising fans to wear black and remain silent, as the emerging fan culture at BMO Field is in large part due to the ground’s status as one of the league’s premier soccer-specific-stadiums.

It is not possible to fit a CFL field into the stadium without major reconstruction.

Toronto FC’s most rabid supporters in the south end and in the northwest corner will sit, rather than stand, during the All-Star game against English side West Ham United on July 24th. There will be limited chanting and cheering. Many of the most rabid supporters have pledged to boycott Toronto FC games should the stadium be retrofitted for CFL football.

BMO Field

“This is not an anti-Argos protest,” clarified Pedro Almeida of the North End Elite. “We have nothing against the Argos or the CFL… We wish them the best of success. But Toronto FC fans signed up in the thousands to support this team based on the premise of it being a soccer-specific stadium with real grass and an intimate setting. We didn’t get the grass. We better get to keep the intimate setting.”

“The supporters groups are united on this,” said Jack DePoe, president of the Red Patch Boys. “The club, the players, the media; everyone has acknowledged the contribution of the supporters groups in the club’s success. We want everyone to understand how upset we are about the possibility of a CFL football retrofit. We won’t stand for this kind of expansion.”

“This was supposed to be our national soccer stadium,” said Rudi Schuller of U-Sector, “but the national team players have already made it clear they prefer to play in other venues because of the Field Turf. Rebuilding for the CFL would further take BMO Field away from being the national soccer stadium.”

Soccer-specific-stadia have long been a key part of the league’s business plan. Seven of the league’s 14 teams currently play in SSSs. Two others will move into SSSs within the next year and the rest have plans to build one.

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