Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Post-Beckham Scene

It's over.

All the hype, hoopla, and haberdashery has hurried on out with a stop on the MLS schedule at Hoboken, er, the Meadlowands, NJ on Saturday.

Though David Beckham never stepped foot onto the pitch for the Galaxy-Revolution match, the pre-match spectator buzz was straight out of a European football ground with a little American-style theatrics to ensure the crowd was thoroughly roused.

A regular season record Revolution crowd of 35,402 arrived at Gillette Stadium hoping to catch a glimpse of the world's most famous footballer on the pitch. The entire "lower bowl" of the stadium was opened to accommodate the masses, and although Beckham never stepped foot onto the synthetic grass to aid his teammates, the crowd was treated to an F-15 flyover and an exciting match that ensued soon thereafter.

But were the celebrity hounds and Star subscribers entertained enough to return?

That is the critical question. While there may have been a certain level of disappointment over the star's non-appearance, the heart of the matter is that, aside from the theatrics, a wonderful winning effort was on display before a packed house. The Revolution played a gem of a match for the better part of the evening, and the club's most recognizable star, Taylor Twellman, scored a beautiful goal in the 55th minute. Although the lads sputtered toward the end, the scoreboard ultimately flashed a 1-0 result in favor of the locals. This in itself should have sent the crowd home happy and clamoring for more.

But did it? Will the boo-hoo of a bench-ridden Beckham override the excitement of the game actually played before the masses? There's no disputing that there will be some who will never see another soccer game ever again for whatever reason, regardless of whether Beckham's ankle ever heals in time for a return engagement next year. That being said, when Beckham does make his return next year with the Galaxy, will we see another sold-out match? Or will the level of excitement subside to the point where the stadium reverts back its 22,000 seat threshold for the encore?

The bottom line is ultimately whether a considerable amount of new fans were created by the event. An event for sure, since most Revolution games do not involve the pomp and circumstance of 35,000+ fans, NFL-caliber pre-game festivities, fireworks, and gaggles of cars proceeding slowly down Route 1. Credit the Krafts for adding the glamorous touches to truly make the night special. But was enough accomplished outside of a Beckham cameo to ensure that the masses will reappear in the near future for a less-hyped, yet entertaining night of soccer?

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