May 12th, 2007

A Trap In Toronto For United?

I just watched the second half of a match between FC Toronto and the Chicago Fire from TO, and I’m starting to wonder if the title of best fans in MLS currently held by the locals here in Washington might not be under threat from North of the border.

After watching for just five minutes, it’s pretty clear the fans in Toronto are delivering exactly what Don Garber and the rest of the suits inside MLS were hoping for when they granted the city an expansion franchise. You’ve got Soccer-mad locals and a Soccer-specific stadium combining to together for an incredible match night experience.

These people have everything that Washington has — the singing, the chanting, the drums — and one thing Washington doesn’t: A brand new stadium that’s just the right size to make it all come together in a combustible mix.

All of a sudden, next Saturday’s match in Toronto isn’t looking like a gimme anymore. While that might be bad news for United, it’s great news for MLS, who are looking like geniuses for expanding to Toronto.

Next step: Please, please give an expansion franchise to Montreal. The fans in Toronto need a logical foil, and the league ought to give it to them. And if my my memories of the Manic are accurate, there’s more than enough Soccer-nuts in Quebec to make it worthwhile.

One Response to “A Trap In Toronto For United?”

  1. You’re probably right about the fanbase, Eric, but a stadium is the question. The local A-League team, the Montreal Impact, is supposed to open Saputo Stadium in the middle of this year, but it only seats 12,500, and only one source I can find indicates expansion capability at all — and that only to 17K, not MLS-grade.

    Besides, they’d have to find an expansion partner — remember that San Jose is scheduled to come back into the league next year, putting the league back at even numbers.

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