Wednesday night’s game is the stuff that builds footballing legend in a city. It makes the most devout more resolute, the dreamer's converts and the skeptics grudgingly accepting. The game itself had more dips and twists than the Leviathan ride at Canada’s Wonderland, and let’s face it; like the ride it scared you at first, then you began to love it. In truth, if I can take off the mad capo hat for a moment, Montreal was good. They were really good and for a few minutes, they had you questioning the football gods. Not again boys, please not again…and not to them. But football has a way of rewarding the faithful. Example, when Oduro (who let’s face it was amazing in this series) put the limpact up both in the game and further up on aggregate it could have been a moment for the stadium to quit. Could you blame them? Most of the people there had seen much heartbreak and “Tobias” moments, that it might have reasonable to pack it up and call it a night. But not with this version of TFC, and not on this night. Oduro scores, people have a short moan…then pick their club up with a stadium wide cry of “TFC....TFC….TFC”.
The reward: Armando Cooper scores 1-1 on the night, 4-3 on aggregate.
116 and the rest of the south end pick it up and TFC bosses the ball for the remainder of the half. Then just before half time...J-J-J-JOZY! 2-1 on the night 4-4 on aggregate and now up in the series. But far from over.
Like I said earlier, this game will test you as a supporter. And when Piatti bulldozes his way into the box and a freaky touch from Nick Hagglund takes the ball past Irwin you feel like “no way, what the hell?”. How can this be happening again? 2-2 and 4-5 on aggregate. This could have been another out, a way to quit, but frankly “ If you have quit, get out. This game is not over, and we don’t quit”. And again you beauties that were part of the 36,000 kept the faith, kept the noise going, and were once again rewarded with a bullet header from Kings favourite Nicky Hagglund, who was immense in this match.
So now, 90 minutes are up. Voices are a bit raw, supporters in the first few rows and yours truly are super soaked. But no one is leaving, no one is quitting. Extra time starts and…Seba is down and he’s not getting up. Once again you're tested, the man responsible for 77% of your scoring during the regular season is hurt and coming off, for…Benoit Cheyrou? How the hell is this going…OMG, he did it! Second touch, beautiful header, YES WE’RE GOING TO DO THIS!!! Now, it would be completely understandable if your long standing Toronto FC PTSD started to rear its ugly head again. How many times has this team messed it up for you? But no, this team is different, when this team is on it’s on. There is no way Montreal is recovering from this, their heads are down…it’s over. Tosaint adds icing on the cake a minute later with another goal off the bench.
As the game is winding down and the rain fell, some chanted until they lost their voices, some stood in disbelief, some cried. No matter how you reacted at the full time whistle, it was a release of a decade’s worth of poor football, bad management, crap signings, bloody big deals and indifference from the city. The beauty of the entire night was that people who started with season seats years ago, who at the time of their first game knew no one around them were cautious of these new strangers, were now hugging their neighbours like family, and sharing this moment of triumph with everyone around them. The game beyond taking TFC to MLS Cup chas made Toronto a football town. The passion exhibited by everyone showed the city what we are all about. However, as said above it’s not over. We have to go one more time on December 10th for the biggest prize.
See you Saturday.