Beckham missing, but still in action - The Province

Bob Lenarduzzi

Star out of MLS clash at Toronto FC as England team gets first dibs

He's played in Vancouver and in Edmonton but for the second straight year, there'll be no David Beckham when his L.A. Galaxy visit Toronto FC Saturday.

Last year it was injury; this time he's with the England squad for Sunday's game in Trinidad & Tobago. Toronto fans had faint hope Beckham might be left out of the game in the Caribbean after he earning his 101st cap in a 2-0 win over the U.S. on Wednesday.

But, while manager Fabio Capello excused seven from the trip to Port of Spain -- including John Terry, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Owen Hargreaves -- Beckham's not among them.

Never mind. Even without his star power, the Galaxy game is a big one for Toronto FC, as Los Angeles have climbed to the top of the MLS Western Conference.

BORDER LINEUP

A lot of fans will be braving the border and heading down to Seattle, where Canada's men take on Brazil at Qwest Field in a friendly Saturday.

Those fans may be among the who get to see the game, as it looks as though it won't be broadcast in Canada. But last-minute efforts were under way to get it on TV, so it might be worthwhile flicking through the sport channels at 7:30 p.m. just in case.

Brazil striker Adriano is back having been rejuvenated this year playing back home for Sao Paulo after struggling badly at Inter Milan.

For Canada, I'm pleased Whitecaps defender Adrian Cann has been named to the squad.

WHO'S THE BOSS?

Whomever is named the next manager of Chelsea will likely receive the most lucrative coaching contract in the history of the game. The salary could exceed $11 million a year, with as much as $200 million to spend on players.

The frontrunner is Roberto Mancini, recently dumped by Inter Milan despite an unprecedented third-straight Serie A title.

Others in the mix include Mark Hughes, Frank Rijkaard, and Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Chelsea may delay making a move until after Euro 2008 as several other candidates are involved in that competition: Portugal manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, Russia boss Guus Hiddink and Croatia's Slaven Bilic.

PLAYER POOL

Anybody involved in construction in Vancouver knows how hard it can be to find capable tradesmen. The same is apparently true in England, where Manchester United star Gary Neville is wishing he had found somebody else to build his new swimming pool.

Turns out the two brothers he hired are Reds fans who buried a Liverpool FC time capsule at the bottom of his pool before tiling it over. In the plastic tube they put a Liverpool scarf, match program, and a copy of the Kop fanzine.

The prank has given Liverpool fans a chuckle, but I doubt it will trouble Neville and his teammates as they sit by the pool, polishing those Premiership and Champions League winners medals.

Bob Lenarduzzi is president of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. For information on Whitecaps tickets and seasonal camps, visit www.whitecapsfc.com or call 604 669 9283.

© The Vancouver Province 2008