[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Citing weather concerns, and not the slim hope that David Beckham might still be a Galaxy player next March, Toronto FC has announced it will play the home game of its Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal against Los Angeles at Rogers Centre instead of BMO Field.
TFC drew the first game of the Concacaf two-leg series, to be played March 7, as its home match. It plays its league opener at BMO Field two and a half weeks later, on March 24. The east side of the stadium’s exposure to nearby Lake Ontario and possibility of bitter weather in early March were cited as reasons to stage the match indoors at Rogers Centre, which has artificial turf and seats more than 50,000 for soccer and football.
Rogers Centre features a retractable roof, which will be closed for the CONCACAF match. The stadium, formerly known as Sky Dome, is home to the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball.
“A lot of thought went into selecting the home site for this very important match,” said Toronto FC senior director of business operations Paul Beirne. “While we would have loved to host our quarterfinal match at our home, BMO Field, ultimately the decision came down to our ability to deliver a safe and enjoyable event in a venue that could withstand the unpredictability of March’s weather conditions.
“We felt that BMO Field’s infrastructure in its present state combined with the exposure to the winter conditions would not deliver on this experience.”
Last spring, Toronto opened its league season at home on March 26.
TFC also announced that tickets for the game will go on sale in early January, by which time Beckham’s decision of whether to stay with the Galaxy should be known.
Toronto qualified for the quarterfinals by finishing second in Group C, ahead of MLS rival FC Dallas.