Tickets for the MLS Cup at BMO Field in Toronto sold out in less than three minutes. Some would say that soccer (or as the snobbish call it “football”) has finally arrived in the Great White North. One single resale ticket is going for more than what tickets for an entire season would cost. Maybe soccer is ready to take that next step in the hierarchy of sports in this city. Some would say that the success of TFC and the infectious atmosphere created around the pitch will finally prove to all the naysayers that soccer can be a successful, profitable and cool sport to follow in North America. Some would say that the sport has won over all those old, crusty experts who believe that good soccer can only be found on other continents. Some would say that, but I won’t. Regardless of whether TFC wins or loses on Saturday, I don’t believe this championship run will have any significant impact on those that have just recently jumped on the TFC bandwagon. The only difference will be that if TFC continues to win next year, people will jump on sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, it will take more years of success and excitement before this team and league catch on as the Raptors had too. That is just reality and the more people who love this team try to force it, the more resistance there will be. So don’t take this time to tell bandwagon jumpers I told you so, just enjoy the moment knowing that for today at least, the party is insanely bigger.
I’ve heard lots of complaints these past few days about how the ticket release was a fiasco as many season ticket holders did not get access. I have heard people indicate how huge soccer is becoming as apparently over 4 million people tuned into the last TFC game. All these people are getting caught in the emotion and making these grandiose accusations and predictions when they should take a break and breathe. I understand it is frustrating not having tickets but the MLS Cup is a league event and the tickets do not belong to the club. Secondly and more importantly, stop thinking about what is going to happen next year at the expense of this year. The last time a Toronto team had a championship game in this city was waaaaaaaay back in 1993 with the Jays’ winning their second World Series title. There may have been an Argo victory here or there but if you read my last article, I think you’ll understand why I glossed over it. Championship teams and games don’t happen to often in this city and they should be enjoyed to the fullest. So if you can’t go to the game, get together with family and friends and make it an event at home. Don’t have family or friends? Go to your local watering hole and you’ll have plenty of people to cheer with.
Spend the days leading up to the event doing what you should be doing. That’s having a discussion with your friends about Michael Bradley and whether he is up to the task in handling the Sounders star-midfielder Nicholas Lodeiro. Rookie Jordan Morris is a beast upfront and has scored 12 goals this season. It will be interesting to see if he will break through TFC’s back three or will the pressure of the big game get to the 22 year old. You should debate over which Giovinco will show up on Saturday. The grand master who could net a hat trick or the player whose touch has been more off than on recently. Will Jozy Altidore break his own record and score in 6 straight playoff games? Who will come off the bench and be the hero this week? There are so many angles to this game and each one tells a wonderful tale. Our time is best served focusing on these points as it helps create the buzz that attracts all.
Although there will be a number of different players in the lineup this time around, they are still as evenly matched as their 1-1 draw earlier this year. TFC have gotten off to terrible starts against Montreal and they can’t rely on their remarkable ability to score late to get them out of trouble yet again. Having said that, I believe TFC have a stronger and more diverse bench that Coach Vanney can utilize depending on what the team needs most at the 60 minute mark. For TFC to be successful, I think they need to settle down into game mode as quickly as possible, because you know they will feed off the energy of the home crowd and there is a concern of being too hyped. They play their best soccer when they are pressing their opponents and they should do that whenever they can but to also do so smartly as it makes them vulnerable to the counter attack. When they score (and we hope it’s often) they need to ensure that they keep their composure for the next few minutes. At times they have given back a goal soon after and that is a huge letdown and momentum killer. I believe that TFC’s versatility and home field advantage will see them raise their first MLS Cup on Saturday but it will come down to who wins the multitude of battles and which players can rise to the occasion. This is what championship games are all about, this is what soccer is all about. So please go ahead and lose yourself in these moments to come as they are wonderful moments to get lost in and they just don’t happen every day in our city.
» Sports » Time to enjoy this TFC moment