Beckham to lead MLS all-stars in Toronto
David Beckham is expected to make his first appearance in Toronto as a soccer player when the MLS all-stars clash against West Ham on July 24 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder was one of 11 players named to the all-star squad on Thursday for the upcoming game at BMO Field.
"He's clearly been the driving force behind the Galaxy's potent offence this year," said MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis.
Beckham, 33, has yet to play in Toronto. He missed two opportunities since joining Major League Soccer last year because of an injury and a commitment to England's national team.
He will be joined by his Galaxy teammate, forward Landon Donovan, who is making his seventh all-star appearance.
Donovan was one of a number of all-star veterans named to the squad. New England Revolution keeper Matt Reis was named an all-star a fourth time, with teammate and defender Michael Parkhurst getting his third nomination.
The back end also includes all-star veterans Jimmy Conrad of the Kansas City Wizards and Frankie Hejduk of the Columbus Crew. Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph will also be back in an all-star lineup.
Making their first all-star appearances will be Chicago Fire playmaker Cuauhtémoc Blanco, midfielder Robbie Rogers of Columbus, midfielder Sacha Kljestan of Chivas USA and Dallas FC forward Kenny Cooper.
Canadian Dwayne De Rosario of the Houston Dynamo was not selected despite heavy support from online fan balloting, but could still be named among the final seven players.
New England coach Steve Nicol will pick five more players ahead of the game, with MLS commissioner Don Garber making two selections.
It would be an unpleasant surprise for local fans in the unlikely occurrence that no Toronto FC player is selected.
"I think a couple of TFC players will make the team," said a hopeful Tom Anselmi, CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns Toronto FC.
The players picked on Thursday won't necessarily be named starters for the all-star game. MLS all-stars have squared off against Celtic, Chelsea and Fulham in the previous three years.
West Ham finished 10th last season in the English Premier League and feature the likes of Freddy Ljungberg, Dean Ashton and Lucas Neill.
The all-star game will cap off three days of activities around BMO Field that will include musical acts, activities for kids and families and a Canadian Champions League game between Toronto and the Montreal Impact on July 22 (CBC Bold, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).