I finally did it!!! Have heard the stories, legends, tales, of away trips, since joining the Kings In The North, the last few seasons. By half time of the road leg of the conference semi-final vs NYCFC I KNEW I was going to Montreal for my first away trip. Nothing was going to stop me.
The journey began, for nine of us, on Monday night with a stop in Kingston. Hit the local Boston Pizza, after a quick check in at the hotel, and stayed until they, basically, kicked us out at closing time. Headed back to our room for another pint, or two, some laughs, and, good times.
Tuesday morning, November 22nd….MATCH DAY!!! Quick breakfast at the hotel, then, on the road for the last half of the drive to Montreal. Adam, Braeden, Randy and myself caught up to Dave (#PINTOLEGEND) and Ryan just after the Quebec border. Fortunately the hotel let us check in about three hours early, so, we could get on with prep, pregame, and, an awesome little side trip to Schwartz’s Deli for Ryan and myself.
Dave was off getting us Metro passes, but, arrived at the Peel Pub shortly after Ryan and I. The next two and half hours were pregame at its finest. We had a great waitress with a really thick French accent that kept the beer, and food, coming. The rest of the Kings, and, U Sector trickled in until it was time for a “mini-march” to the subway. The look on some of the passengers faces as we chanted, and, bounced that subway car was priceless
Next up was the supporter’s march to Olympic Stadium, aka The Big-O, The Big Oh-Oh, The Big Shitehole…etc, etc. The pyro/flares are sooo much better in the dark. Got to the stadium for 6 PM as asked, but, waited for about 20 minutes while the staff tried to get their act together. Kept singing/chanting, partially to stay warm, during that time.
Got to the front rows of section 149 shortly after getting in. We hung the two Kings banners over the rail, and, settled in waiting for TFC to come out and warm up. Coach Vanney, and staff, were first out to make their way over to us for mutual respect. Shortly after the boys came out for warm ups, and, did the same. While this was happening the officials noticed the 18 yard box was too small, and, the old lines had to be covered while new lines were drawn…yup, only in Montreal!
The match, finally, started around 8:30 PM and the 2000 give, or take, TFC supporters/fans were giving their all to try and be noisier than the other 58 000 in attendance. The first half was tough to say the least. Two quick goals had the boys behind the eight ball, but, unlike last year, this playoff match-up has two legs. Plenty of football left to play.
The second half saw the hated Impact, have a few other names for them, but, trying to keep this civil for the website, score another to go up by three. Bowed my head for a moment, on Adam’s shoulder, but only a moment…couldn’t let those plastic supporters below us even think we were down and out. Sub time….Ricketts and Johnson came on, and, the squad were reborn. First up a nice pass from Seba, to Jozy for a beautiful header. We went wild! An all important away goal on the board! Shortly after another scramble in the Impact box, and, Bradley drilled home the second goal. Wild doesn’t describe our reaction to that one. Hugs, laughter, beer flying, high fives, football ecstasy. The scoreboard said 3-2 for them, but, that 2 was HUGE. The boys had a few chances to get the draw, but, fell short. However they kept Montreal to that three. We celebrated that loss like a victory. Going back to Toronto knowing a 1-0, or, 2-1 win would see us through to the final…not to mention all the other scenarios.
We were held back, for security reasons, for about half an hour then made our way to the supporter’s buses. A quick trip to Brutopia, saw us in the basement with post-match drinks in hand, A bunch of us were paying attention to the Seattle/Colorado match in between stories, laughs, and, drinks. Final score 2-1 Seattle…the dream of TFC hosting the final was alive for sure! Pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say we had a good time at the bar, before, stumbling into the bed to get some sleep before the drive home on Wednesday.
My first away trip was everything I’d hoped for and more!! If you’re reading this, and, haven’t been on one…don’t hesitate. Make it happen, no way you will regret it! Stick with the group, listen to what the road veterans have to say. Be smart while having a blast!! Special thanks to Dave Pinto, our fearless leader on this trip, and, Adam Geraldes…thanks, again, for driving brother. Hopefully we can get Juli to her first away trip next season. I know I’m already looking forward to my next one.