Traveling fans bring spirit, flavor to MLS Cup

  MLSCup2010

By TRAVIS CLARK

TORONTO – Traveling a few thousands miles on short notice can be a bit of a drag. But when it's to support your respective home team in the MLS Cup final in a city you've never been to, it can sometimes be a whole new experience.

Both FC Dallas and Colorado supporters, coming from two of the smaller markets of Major League Soccer, were both well-represented Sunday evening. A few hundred from both sides hunkered down to brave the cold and cheer own their home side. The sea of Burgundy and Blue meshed with the sea of red and white, though any exchanges were good natured before the match.

Rapids fans appeared to be more receptive to the cold than their Dallas counterparts, having sat through last weekend's Eastern Conference Final in Commerce City. With kickoff temperatures hovering around the low 40s, and the wind whipping off the coast from Lake Ontario, it wasn't for the faint of heart. Crowds of supporters huddled under outdoor heaters to try and stay warm.

Fans of both sides arrived on Thursday, Friday and into the weekend, getting a chance to savor the sights and sounds of the Canadian host city. Both fans gushed with praise for their hosts, enjoying the feel of a new city.

"Toronto's been great," said Matt from Dallas, wearing an outfit complete with a small cowboy hat.

Different groups arrived in different ways — FC Dallas charted a flight for fans, providing match tickets, accommodation and covering every base. However, a number of fans coming from both Colorado and Texas set things up on their own.

Planes emerged from Dallas with 40 to 60 fans at a time heading north of the border. And it paid off to an extent — FC Dallas appeared to fill most of their section, clamoring in with banners, flags and drums to decorate the alloted sections.

On the Rapids side of things, a semblance of organization was more visible — song sheets distributed, and designated supporters leading the chants.

It wasn't all positive however. During Sunday morning's Supporters' Summit, fans of both sides lodged complaints of the match ticket price, having to lay out between $80-$200 for a ticket for the MLS Cup final.

For both Colorado and Dallas supporters, a long plane ride home awaits. For one set, it's a satisfying end to an exciting trip. For another, only a time to reflect and wait for a new season to being next year. 

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, MLS Cup, MLS- Colorado Rapids, MLS- FC Dallas. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Traveling fans bring spirit, flavor to MLS Cup

  1. michael says:

    toronto fans need to get a grip.

  2. Second City says:

    Any clarity on exactly what their protest was over?

    I’ve yet to read anything definitive from the SBI staff unless I missed it in the five or six recent posts.

    Thanks

  3. Crunch Crunch says:

    I think they are perfectly justified. They’ve had their ticket prices double despite the fact that their club blows.

  4. dman says:

    In order to attend the final, from the US, would you have needed your passport to travel to Canada?

    I’m not up-to-date on the latest passport rules

  5. Rudi says:

    No one walked out after the anthem!!!

    Stop spreading this BS all over the freaking internet. Just because SBI and Goff are saying there was some sort of protest, that doesn’t mean there was one.

    Your reporting on rumour as fact is very poor form, especially from a site as widely-respected as this one.

    There was legitimately 18-19k there at kickoff. TFC FO starting moving people – after the anthems – into seats closer to the field.

    Those who didn’t show up made their own personal choice. There was NO organized protest in play.

    As the game went on, the crowd thinned out (especially after the first 90 minutes). That’s going to happen given that it was nearing midnight on a work/school night, and with the temperature dropping in a dreadfully poor game.

    Despite all of this, I personally had a great time, and was one of the last out of the building. Watching two teams I don’t really care about is far less stressful (and thus, sometimes more fun) than watching TFC slog it away night after night.

  6. BCC says:

    I don’t know if there was a protest or not, but there were many, many empty seats in the stadium. In one sense, it was an embarrassment for the league. On the other hand, it was a fascinating game, well worth watching.

  7. Eric says:

    There may not have been a protest and it may have been a school/work night but it still looks really bad when the stadium is almost completely empty looking television because the Toronto fans left before the game even got into overtime.

    I don’t know if there was an organized protest or not. I do know that they said there would be no boycott and that appears to be true, but it certainly looks like they could have been sending a message by leaving early if they wanted.

  8. io says:

    i think people here and elsewhere are confusing a protest with a justified lack of interest.

    to add on top of that the “meaning” of the regular season is under question now that 10 playoff teams will happen.

    MLS needs purpose and meaning and this game did not feel like it to many.

  9. bob says:

    MLS Cup in Toronto was a failure. way too many empty seats.

  10. Hopper says:

    It definitely did not have the atmosphere of a final, or really, any atmosphere at all. Huge fail by MLS deciding to have the game in Toronto. Not only was the game itself ugly, but there were so many empty seats that you could hear the players on the field.

    Not the showcase event MLS was hoping for. A big step back IMHO.

  11. bob says:

    They took back the raising the ticket prices.

  12. doug says:

    i was at the game yesterday …. the stadium seemed pretty full at the kick-off. by the 100th minute the crowd was thinning but that was b/c ppl were moving around and in the concourse areas – or had to leave. it was about 11pm on a sunday night at that time.

    there is a big problem in toronto that probably 30% of the fans take a commuter train in and out of the area and it only comes once an hour. late on a sunday night – ppl had to catch their train and coulnd’t stay. kids have to go to school etc ….

    the owners of the team are also killing the fans with ticket prices. An average ticket price of $120 to watch an MLS final is a lot. but i don’t think there was an organized walk-out for this game.

    i thought for the most part the toronto fans were very good. there was no eastern conference team in there that TFC fans could root against – that is the MLS’s fault – colorado representing the east is ridiculous. if columbus had been in the final i think a lot of toronto fans would have been cheering for dallas. instead, the crowd mostly rooted for marvell wynne and conner casey – two ex-toronto players. and cheered against cunningham who couldn’t hit an empty net in his 25 games in red.

    casey kind of plays like a hockey player which canadians can relate to as well – haha.

  13. bob says:

    Toronto as a MLS Cup final was a failure, too many empty seats

  14. elduderino says:

    I’m more concerned about the national TV rating and how much media coverage FCD and Colorado are getting back home than how many TFC fans stayed for the whole game.

  15. Heathen says:

    I went to the game, stayed till the end and got home at 1:00am and I was driving. If I’d taken public transit as I originally intended it would’ve been an hour later. I don’t blame anyone who has to work or has kids from leaving early from a 9:00pm kick off on a Sunday night, especially considering how poor the game was.

    As Rudi said there was no organized boycott, the empty seats were people who were forced to buy tickets and couldn’t or didn’t try to resell them, simple as that.

  16. Kejsare says:

    Yes. Passport needed in hand.

  17. Kejsare says:

    It sounded great in March. Last week, not so much.

  18. Doom Boy says:

    I was at the game – left after 90 so that I’d get home at 1 rather than 2 a.m. with a full day of work the next day. There were empty blocks of seats for sure, but I think what most people assumed was an organized protest at half time was what happens every game – the exodus for beer/food/relief from same. For the last four years, the stadium is half full right after restart (concessions/washrooms not well planned). About the 55th minute, it’s back to where it was, and certainly seemed that way to me (south side). I can tell you there were nowhere near as many people on the platform as there would have been if it had been a regular game.

  19. giaco says:

    I think it sucks that Toyota Park has never gotten to host a final. It’s been in the 50’s (on average) here in Chicago this week–and not too much colder at all during the evenings. IIRC, we were told MLS said no b/c it would be too cold in Chicago at this time of year. What a load of crap.

  20. adfasdf says:

    Most who come to the game come by way of Subway or Go Train. There was a train that left at 11pm that many went to catch. This was a pretty good turnout for a game on a school night, in freezing temps, with two uninspired teams. There was a good atmosphere to start the game.

  21. Jeremy says:

    If you want atmosphere, let one of the teams in the final host it or just host it in Seattle permanently.

  22. JCC says:

    Interesting that SBI seems to be the only place saying that they atmosphere at the MLS Cup was good at BMO Field. Both Goff and Wahl seem to think otherwise.

  23. Seriously says:

    Amen

  24. Scott A says:

    Well, agree with the first part.

  25. Scott A says:

    Anyone know if Garber’s e-mail is still dgarber@mlsnet.com, if it’s dgarber@mlssoccer.com, or something else? I don’t mean to open the guy up to a deluge of dimwitted e-mails, but I don’t think he realizes the degree to the majority of MLS fans want a championship game at the site of the higher seed, a regular season with more meaning, and not more playoff teams. He’s been known to be attentive to e-mails in the past, and a few professional e-mails may enlighten him a bit.

  26. Rob says:

    TV ratings were horrible… Got a 0.5…. No surprise.

  27. RLW2020 says:

    Colorado has had decent media attention in Denver. huge turnout at the bars on sunday night tho..

  28. RLW2020 says:

    MLS Cup 2011 – Las Vegas..? maybe? i bet a lot of Colorado fans would have been there.

    seriously tho they should give it to the higher seed in the future.

  29. Brian says:

    I traveled from Colorado with the Bulldog Supporters group.

    First of all, big props to the Toronto Supporters Groups, in particular the U-Sector and Red Patch Boys, who were very gracious hosts.

    Must say that Toronto was a difficult destination, direct flights were hovering around $1,000 so many elected to go by way of Buffalo which was around $400 and transit our way up. All told that journey was between 12 – 15 hours. I don’t mind the $80 seat in itself isn’t a problem but when you compound it with the rest of the travel costs and 1/3rd of the stadium with empty seats it’s a bit of a stomach punch.

    Garber discussed the league considering the higher seed hosting the championship, but brought up a number of potential obstacles. Namely, weather for several markets, the logistics of arranging a championship in a week, and the loss of communal events like the supporters summit.