Amidst all the attention David Beckham has received in Montreal ahead of the Impact’s match against the LA Galaxy on Saturday (4 pm ET; TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in the US), there is one perhaps overlooked issue to be sorted out.
Namely, Beckham and turf do not mix well.
But unlike the Galaxy’s last visit to a stadium with an artificial surface, Beckham is very much a part of the club’s visit to Montreal and appears likely to play.
“I think any player would express concern over playing on the turf,” Beckham said in a press conference after training at Olympic Stadium on Friday. “But at the end of the day when you’re in the game you don’t think about anything else. I’ll be fine.”
Beckham did not travel to Seattle with the Galaxy on May 2. The Sounders’ home ground – CenturyLink Field – has an artificial surface, just like Montreal’s "Big O."
But it turns out the turf in Montreal is not as terrible as previously thought.
“We heard so much from other players about how bad it was that our expectations were zero, so I actually thought it was alright,” Galaxy captain Landon Donovan said. “’It’s not as bad as we thought and we’ve all played on turf fields like this or similar. It’s just part of the game.”
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena did not say one way or the other whether the Englishman would start but gave hope to the locals that Beckham would see time.
“We’re anticipating that he will play, but you never know,” Arena said.
The Galaxy’s visit to Montreal has attracted massive attention. The Impact are expecting upwards of 60,000 fans for the match and Beckham appeared on the cover of at least one local newspaper on Friday. He said he hoped the atmosphere would be similar to the one during his previous trip to Canada.
“It was a great atmosphere to play in front of, minus the beer cans,” Beckham said, referring to the Galaxy’s March 7 Champions League match against Toronto FC at Rogers Centre. “Playing in Toronto was a great atmosphere. Ninety percent of the people there were there to see the game and to have fun, and I think it was a good game so we hope the atmosphere is going to be like that. It’s important to enjoy playing in games like this.”
Luis Bueno covers the LA Galaxy for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com