The Major League Soccer has changed the football landscape in Canada, and this was evident at the Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.
At least 61,000 soccer enthusiasts were at the Big O to see the game. Toronto FC supports were dressed in colourful matching attires. Montreal Impact came with their fans, and the Toronto supporters promised to win in the battle of chants for their various teams.
There was excitement in the air even as different fans bragged about their team’s capabilities. A Toronto FC fans Rachel Finan said: “It’s incredibly exciting, it feels like Christmas If we win the MLS Cup, it’s going to change football for the whole of Canada, I think.
“If a Canadian team wins the MLS Cup, we’re going to have the whole slew of football fans and it’s going to be amazing.”
Even as Finan was enthusiastic about the teams she supports, Impact fans were too, one even admitted to being nervous ahead of the much-anticipated clash.
“Sometimes I have to remember to breathe. Losing against Toronto is just a no-go. There’s nothing worse than losing to Toronto. Nothing worse. Tonight, for example, the Habs are playing at home and 61,000 people are here. And the Habs are in first place; it’s not like the Habs are doing terrible.
“I really think there’s a big buzz here. In my opinion, the Impact have solidified second place as a sports team in Montreal. Not to play down the Als or anything, but I really think this is something special,” a 28-year old Montreal Impact fan said.
Finan added that the affordability in soccer has helped fans relate much more with the game compared to hockey. However, she admitted that there are fears the Toronto team might disappoint fans sometimes and that Soccer might never eclipse hockey in Canada.