It started with the Toronto Wolfpack winning their Rugby League championship back in September and with it, promotion to Tier 2. It was followed by the Toronto Argonauts winning the Grey Cup a couple of weeks ago, after finishing last the season before. 2017 will now end with what is arguably the best sports year in this city’s history as Toronto FC capped off an historical season by defeating the Seattle Sounders 2-0 and with it, got to hoist the MLS Cup in front of their hometown fans.
Those same fans have already begun to stake claim that this TFC team are not only Champions…finally, but have just completed the best season ever had by any team in MLS history. We ask you DC United, Sporting Kansas City and you too LA Galaxy to bring forth your arguments. But truth be told, you all have a difficult argument to make and until dethroned or proven otherwise, Toronto FC are the best team ever. A few months ago they won the Canadian Cup, yet again. They then proceeded to win the Supporters Shield for the first time in their history and they not only won it, but they dominated the entire league and accumulated more points in a season than any other team before them. They had just one last obstacle to face and technically, the most important, to become the only team in North America to win the first ever treble in MLS history. In that too, they did not only win, they dominated. The fact that it was against the Seattle team that beat them last year and has haunted them ever since only made it that much sweeter. There was no better opponent to face. There was no better way to end it.
Fans have endured the reminders of last year’s loss so many times. How we lost without giving up a single shot on net still baffles us. We have seen Stefan Frei’s fingertip save ad nauseam and every moment of it seared into our memory like an old computer monitor that has been left on for days. We know every split second of that save and yet… everytime we see it, we still believe there’s a chance it will go in. If this win was just a redemption for last year’s loss it would be more than enough to keep our palate satiated. But this victory meant so much more. It erases all the ghosts of TFC’s past and trust me, there were plenty.
It erases those years of futility where our coaching staff resembled a turnstyle. Seven skippers in five years would make anybody’s head spin. It minimizes those embarrassing games early in our inaugural season in 2007 when we couldn’t even score a single goal until the fifth game with living legend Danny Dichio’s 23rd minute strike. It even rained seat cushions that day, the first and last time that promotion ever took place at BMO Field. It even eased TFC’s very first playoff game against our biggest rivals, the Montreal Impact. That loss was a foregone conclusion well before halftime as they peppered us for three early goals. All those nightmares, don’t haunt us anymore. Gilberto fighting with Defoe over a free kick. Gone. The treatment of Dwayne DeRosario and then his “signing the check” celebration. Both gone. Defoe being homesick and wanting to leave Toronto (how dare he) that too… is gone. None of these memories are erased or forgotten, but that hold it had over us as a team, and a city of failures…it’s all gone.
This was no ordinary victory. There was so much emotion behind it that it becomes difficult to describe and difficult to explain to those that were not aware of TFC’s failures; not aware of their history and not aware of the agony Toronto fans have gone through. This team and fanbase forged their relationship through those dark days and both groups are far better for it.
It is incredibly difficult to encapsulate or put into words what this victory means to the team, the fans or this city. Difficult to describe yes, but not impossible. Who best to do so other than TFC captain Michael Bradley, aka The General. We will get into his post game remarks and a little more in our next post.
» Sports » TFC, more than just MLS Champions