By DEREK VAN DIEST, Sun Media
The idea is to entertain.
In an exhibition game like tonight’s encounter between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps at Commonwealth Stadium, the result is secondary. Especially when the main attraction is the most famous athlete on the planet, who has a tendency to defy the laws of physics when kicking a soccer ball.
“Personally, for me, it’s all about the result,” said Galaxy midfielder David Beckham with a smile. “It’s not about David Beckham putting in some good crosses and taking some good free kicks. “Obviously people want to see that, but for me, I’ve always been a team player and I’d rather see us win, than have me score and not win.
“I love taking free kicks and I love scoring free kicks, but I’d rather see us win.” For the crowd of 40,000-plus which organizers hope to attract to Commonwealth tonight, it won’t matter who wins, just that it’s an entertaining game.
When the two sides met in October in front of 48,000 at B.C. Place the only thing missing were the goals.
“Last year when we played Vancouver, they came to play and they made it an entertaining game and a good game,” said Galaxy striker Landon Donovan. “This year will be a little different because we’re in our season. We’ll be a little fitter. It’s going to be fun; I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been to Alberta a couple of times and I’m looking forward to it.”
The two sides decided to play the game in Edmonton mainly due to the natural grass surface at Commonwealth Stadium. There were complaints the artificial surface at B.C. Place affected the quality of play in the last encounter.
“What we would like to do is partner up with (Edmonton),” said Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi. “And because it’s only an hour and a little bit from Vancouver (via flight), it’s appealing to incoming teams, as well, that they don’t have to be travelling across the country and through different time zones. For us this is not a one-off.”
Depending on the success of the event, there may be more exhibition games to come. There has been talk of bring over big European clubs.