By RON FANFAIR
Toronto will host this year’s Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup in November.
The Cup match will close out the league’s fourth year since Toronto FC joined MLS. Next year, a second Canadian team – Vancouver Whitecaps – will join MLS.
“Toronto and the Province of Ontario have proven to be a vibrant market for top-level soccer and we are pleased to present the city’s fans another opportunity to enjoy a marquee event and showcase their passion,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “As we saw last year in Seattle, the MLS Cup is more that just our championship match. It is a four-day celebration of the world’s game in North America. We believe Toronto will be a superb backdrop for the festivities.”
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment executive vice-president and chief operating officer Tom Anselmi said his organization is excited to host the event.
“We are looking forward to making MLS Cup weekend in Toronto a celebration of the beautiful game in an authentic and credible soccer environment,” he said.
Mayor David Miller, who was born in England, also expressed delight that the championship game will be played in this city.
“Toronto FC has the best supporters and one of the best soccer-specific stadiums in the league, particularly with the addition of a grass pitch and additional seats,” he said. “The sport of soccer has a massive fan-base in the Toronto region guaranteeing that no matter who is playing in the final, the atmosphere and excitement at the game and the events around it will be a huge success.”
The MLS Cup match takes place on November 21 at BMO Field. Kick-off is 8.30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Jamaican international, Lovel Palmer, appeared in his first MLS match last weekend since signing with Houston Dynamos. He came on as a substitute in the 89th minute for Brad Davis who scored both goals from the penalty spot in the Dynamos 2-1 win over defending MLS champions Real Salt Lake. Another Jamaican international, Andy Williams, was also a second-half substitute for Real Salt Lake, coming on in the 67th minute.
The 25-year-old Palmer has been captain of the Jamaican club side, Harbour View, for the past five years. He has made 12 appearances for Jamaica since 2005, the last being two months ago when he set up his country’s only goal in a 2-1 road loss to Argentina.
Palmer spent two separate one-week trial periods with the Dynamo and he rejoined the club for pre-season games last March against the Austin Aztex and Chicago Fire.