After hearing about the sudden passing of a best friend the night before, on Tuesday, May 2 I drove nearly 12 hours from Ottawa to Cincinnati, passing right by Toronto to catch a flight home to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
I was not going to make it to the May 3 match I had on the schedule.
The week I spent at home was difficult given the circumstances, but provided an opportunity to recharge my batteries and spend time with my friends and family after more than two months on the road.
When I set out to do the trip, it was important for me to make it to every MLS venue. A stop in Toronto — though out of the way — wasn’t going to evade me. I was able to reschedule a stop at BMO Field (as well as Grand Rapids FC, the other team I missed).
Unfortunately this meant I would not be able to catch an MLS fixture at BMO Field in Toronto. I had to settle for a midweek
Canadian Championship Voyageurs Cup match against USL side Ottawa Fury FC.
Fortunately, Toronto FC fans turn out to support their club. Announced attendance was (surprisingly) only 15,175, but I must say I was impressed. In the 28,500-seater — one of the larger non-NFL venues in MLS — the crowd looked and sounded much larger.
— The Soccer Tour (@TheSoccerTour) May 31, 2017
And the supporters were fantastic.
I’ve been to several matches where clubs have more than one main supporters group. This can be problematic for a few reasons, but especially when they chant over one another. I was pleased to discover this was not the case at all in Toronto where the clubs main supporters groups — Red Patch Boys, U-Sector, Inebriatti and Kings in the North — all worked together, despite each utilizing their own capos and occupying different sections in the south side of BMO Field.
For example, the Inebriatti would start a chant and look to their right for Red Patch Boys and U-Sector to sing certain parts. Then, pass the baton to their left where Kings in the North would let their voices be heard. It was really cool to witness and be a part of.
The Viking Clap in particular got the entire stadium involved. Needless to say, it was loud.
In the end, we were treated to a 4-0 win over their lower-division opposition.
Special thanks to my host Sam Rahbar for taking care of me during my time in Toronto, as well as introducing me to Persian food and the band Snarky Puppy; Julian Carr for hooking me up with a ticket; and John Bruce from U-Sector for showing me the ropes and scarfing me.
Glad I could be there.