MLS- Toronto FC

BMO Field: An experience to remember


The best thing I can tell you about BMO Field in Toronto is that if you are an MLS fan you need to go there ASAP.

Go grab an MLS schedule, find out when your team is playing, book a flight (or fill your gas tank) and head north. It is an experience to remember and one that is deservedly the envy of the rest of the league.

The Toronto fans were great, whether hours before the game at the local soccer pubs, or during the game, when they spend all 90 minutes singing and jumping around.

Here are some of the highlights for me:

Seeing stadium security toss pass unrolled streamers to the crowd was amazing. Imagine seeing that at Giants Stadium. Not only would that not happen, if you tossed a streamer at a player at Giants Stadium you would get tackled by two state troopers as a state police dog mauled your leg.

The streamers are not that big an issue. I know some folks have a problem with the streamers being thrown on corner kicks, but they are harmless and the players being targeted didn’t have much of a problem with it. As long as it’s just the crepe paper streamers, and nothing sinister like coins or batteries, I don’t see the issue.

Here was Claudio Reyna’s take on the streamers:

"In Central America, with the U.S. teams, we’d get stuff thrown at us, but not as bad as that,” Reyna said. “(They have some) good aim. They were wrapping it around my ankles and I really had to stop. It was in the way, but it’s good. That’s great and they’ve really been a breath of fresh air in this league with the atmosphere they create."

Hearing the different sections go back and forth. The benefit of having a stadium filled with season-ticket holders is that all these people know each other, so when one section can finish the chant another section starts it’s pretty damn impressive.

Hearing TFC fans chant Marco Velez’s name in full voice. Imagine being Velez, who was in the USL a year ago, now being cheered on loudly by a packed stadium? He is loving life right now.

Maybe it’s just me, but I had never seen beer given out with lids on them. What a great idea this is. Who hasn’t been walking with some beers only to lose half a beer after being run into by some overzealous kid? TFC fans don’t have this problem because they get draft beers with plastic lids on the cups. Okay, so it does kind of look like a sippy cup, but at least they get to drink all their beer.

TFC dropped the ball in not establishing a visiting supporter’s section. Now I know this isn’t an issue for 80 percent of the games they’ll have, but BMO Field really needs to have a section that can be dedicated to visiting fans, even if we’re talking just 20. And no, there were no Red Bulls fans in attendance (Which made the Toronto fans chanting, "Can you hear the Red Bulls sing" all the more ridiculous.)

The location of BMO Field to Toronto’s downtown is priceless. This is all the more reason for visiting fans to make a trip to a Toronto game.

Thanks to the members of the Red Patch Boys who helped me out and got me a spot in the second row to watch the first half.  I was about eight seats from the infamous (U-Sector created) Claudio Reyna poster (and am actually in the above picture) and probably could have hit Reyna in the head with a streamer if I wanted to (and no, I didn’t throw any streamers).

The songs the TFC fans sang were great, but I did feel a bit heated when I heard an anti-Jersey chant. Hey, I’m from Jersey, it’s natural. I couldn’t be that upset really, not after some U-Sectors a section away started an impromptu chant about me early in the game (thankfully it wasn’t ‘Who Are Ya’)

I got to meet Morgan Campbell from the Toronto Star. A great guy who, like me, played American football rather than futbol. He’s got me trumped on the credentials though. Campbell was a walk-on at Northwestern and earned a Rose Bowl ring in the process. I played in the Pride Bowl between Ramapo and Montclair State. Not quite the same thing, I know.

And in what might be a complete shock to some, I spoke to Amado Guevara after the game. Guevara was all smiles and gave me a hug and a handshake. I wasn’t going to avoid him and went to speak to him and he really surprised me with that greeting. Needless to say I was happy to see that any past drama was water under the bridge (maybe he read my stories saying that Toronto FC was smart for picking him up. Okay, I’m kidding).

That’s all for now. I plan on writing a more detailed account of my experience in Toronto for Monday so look out for that. Also, I wrote a piece on the fans in Toronto for ESPN.com that should post later today.

  • DC Cavalier

    I would take issue about the tossing of streamers as harmless.

    Steamers may be harmless now, but just like at some US sports stadiums, what at one time might be harmless, is the next times, battery or rock dressed like a streamer.

    There shouldn’t be any room for fans, regardless of how innocent it may seem, to throw things on the field.


  • Binks

    Very disappointed.


    The guy that says that he lives 10 mins away from Giants Stadium to me at Summer’s the day before the MLS Cup has the audacity to say I need to go to Toronto to experience supporters when he’s not once hung out in 16A before a game or spent the equivalent time in section 101 since the rebranding of the New York (New Jersey) franchise?

    We bring the noise. They bring the nonsense.


  • nickmustgo

    I can’t stand the streamers – completely offensive and a total travesty to the game.

    And, BTW, the idea that they don’t interfere with the players is ludicrous, and even the quote from Reyna attests (“They were wrapping it around my ankles and I really had to stop.”).

    Fans should NOT be interfering with the game on the field in ANY way.

    And the idea that security – sorry, “security” – would ASSIST with interfering with the game on the field is even worse.

    Posted by: A.S. | May 02, 2008 at 12:33 PM

    So what number is on your jacket for the NJSEA?


  • Ives

    Come on Binks, I have both been in 101 and at the pre-game tailgate in the past year (though not this season yet, I did visit some tailgaits before the New England game, you can ask KPugs). My comments weren’t a knock on other supporter’s groups. ESC, Section 8, La Barra Brava (and all the good supporter’s sections in MLS) are all great. My point about TFC is that it’s a full stadium of that, which is something that merits some praise and is something that needs to be experienced.

    As for the streamers, I’m not saying I love them, I guess my opinion on it was solidified after talking to players who have no problem with it. I can understand the concerns about it and if MLS steps in and bans the practice I will understand, but right now I don’t see it being that big an issue.


  • jeff

    The streamers are harmless. No one has missed a corner because of the streamers and no one has ever been hurt, either. Though, should an MLS team ever try to bring Louis Saha into BMO field there might be a cause for concern.



    Some other quotes from Claudio Reyna after the TFC match:

    “We too play in front of a sea of red at Giants Stadium, though it was a little different tonight for some reason.”

    “Playing in front of living people is awesome.”

    “The Red Patch Boys are loud – but you haven’t experienced MLS excitement until playing in front of the North Bergen U-8 Girls team – they can really whoop it up.”

    “In America the fans keep it to one standard chant – so not to confuse the masses that being – USA – USA – USA.”

    “The fans up here actually pay for their seats – they even have real life scalpers around the ground charging 3 or 4 times the value of the ticket – simply incredible.”


  • inkedAG

    Apparently you didn’t read the 14 plus pages on the Red Patch Boys message board where all they could say was “The Red Bulls are Shite. The Red Bulls are Shite. The Red Bulls are Shite. The Red Bulls are Shite.”

    They’re imbeciles, plain and simple


  • TheDreamTeam

    Lighten up everyone. What matters most is people are enjoying the game, their team and MLS. We need more of this in the league and hopefully RB can get a similar atmosphere with the new stadium.


  • lassidawg

    Sounds and looks like a great atmosphere, and hopefully something we can replicate here in Seattle, a year away and closing in on 15K for season tickets. Throwing anything during play is a bad idea, I can see throwing them after a goal. Throw in the beer and some dummy will throw something that could hurt someone. I am gussing that banning streamers wouldn’t destroy that atmosphere that has been created.


  • MDR

    [quote]Apparently you didn’t read the 14 plus pages on the Red Patch Boys message board where all they could say was “The Red Bulls are Shite. The Red Bulls are Shite. The Red Bulls are Shite. The Red Bulls are Shite.”

    They’re imbeciles, plain and simple

    Posted by: inkedAG | May 02, 2008 at 02:47 PM[/quote]

    Don’t hate on us just because we pay more attention to your team than your entire city/state does.

    Be happy that we acknowledge your tiny club, because apparently you can barely manage 13000 to do the same.


  • Dan

    My apologies for suggesting that anyone on this blog is a euro-snob, but it does sound like whining to complain about the dangers of streamers or say that they would materially interfere with the game. It’s a great atomsphere-booster and I think all MLS teams should incorporate it into the opening minutes of their games.


  • Yang

    To Jerry: if you read a few posts up, Mark posted a response that answers your question – I asked too.


  • WHOAnesto

    No one in their right mind should be envious of fans who chant “This is our house!” in their own stadium. Idiots.


  • Seisco

    I live in Rochester and I would LOVE to see a TFC game at BMO but their website says all the single game tickets through Ticketmaster for the ENTIRE season are sold out. Any advice on how to get a few tickets?


  • satan

    Seisco — check the redpatchboys.ca message board. there’s a specific ticket section (no scalping) where people who can’t make it have seats for sale. if you have $$$ to throw around the typical ticket reseller sites always have tickets available. As well, if you can befriend a season ticket holder, they have access to a private ticket selling site through ticketmaster. they could buy you a seat and email you the tickets.


  • liverbull

    I just missed the Q&A by seconds but Im a long time reader first time writer and I love your site. Can you please answer these questions for me?

    2 questions

    -Now that we just had the last CONCACF Champions cup, I understand that the format will be different next year. Will the format be more along the lines on the Champions league or the UEFA cup?

    -Will ESPN ever have a soccer show? All I want is one measly hour of pure soccer talk and highlights. I watch ESPN deportes but all they ever talk about is the friggen Mexican league and I could care less. The Fox soccer report is my only window to the beautiful game but it still feels foreign to me. I don’t know if it’s the fuzzy hand held camcorder they use to record the show or the cornball commentators with Canadian accents that turn me off. Sometimes I watch it with the volume off because they annoy me so much, but I love the game. I feel that a big reason why the footy stagnates in the USA is because there is simply NO coverage. More Americans will accept soccer as a major sport if Americans in the US are covering it. Do you agree that Americans get turned off or are not receptive to foreign commentators?


  • Oh the rbas

    “No disrespect to those American grounds, but it’s a family-day-out thing, here we’re playing in front of real football fans.”

    Danny Dichio

    Toronto Star- April 20th.


  • Draracle

    Too bad this has been degenerated into a flame fest about who has great fans. Toront is a great place to watch footy, always has been. Just now we have a home team! I think DC has an intense supporters section, Chicago too… everyone should strive to sellout and create atmosphere — vs. fighting over who is better.

    and beers are $12.75 for a large — dollars are close to equal right now. So all those beers are big’ol’dollar signes to the MLSE.


  • AD

    As a TFC season ticket holder, I don’t mind stating that I too don’t like seeing the streamers interfere with the restart from the corner, however, as long as MLS and the other clubs continue to use footage of it in promoting the MLS, we all bettter get used to it.

    Also, just as a matter of interest, I’m also on TFC’s waiting list with 7,000+ fans seeking season tickets. My request is for another 4 tickets. And like many season ticket holders, I don’t scalp mine. Recently a senior TFC executive said the demand for season tickets from that waiting list is currently in excess of 14,000 tickets.


  • fieldsy

    Question for the tfc fans. is there a lot more interest in the tfc team than the canadian national team?

    this summer, i watched the U-20 world cup. i saw canada’s games (very poor showing) and there was a great crowd in toronto (although it seemed that half the fans were rooting for chile), there were almost no fans in edmonton watching the games. i also remember reading about canada’s national team playing a friendly against a small country from the caribbean (i think the game was last year) and only 300 fans attending the game. does it have more to do with where the game is played in canada or is there just a lot lest interest in the national team?

    by the way, keep up the great work with your crowds in toronto!


  • peteo

    once again, reps to the TFC fans. streamers are good for the atmosphere, but there should be a balance of not tossing them at players taking corners or free-kicks. pretty much any other time, i’d say go for it.


  • martha


    Just like a Red Bulls home game…..only with people and without the sea of empty seats.


  • JDG

    For those of you who are commenting on the streamers, I’d like to point out that the various players and coaches who have visited BMO field, have had 18 games to date, to make a case against them.

    We have been told by our front office, that the league is monitoring the situation VERY closely, but we have yet to hear a single player or coach speak out against them.

    When the press has approached the victims of streamer showers, looking for a reaction, the players have always surprised me by singing our praises.

    When I hear that we’re having an effect that goes beyond entertainment, and that we’re being credited with impeding the flow of the game by the players, I’ll happily give it a rest.


  • alex

    fyi, the beer is not cheap.

    Although TFC has had success in this manner, I’m sure others aren’t far behind.

    Things are looking up for the league in general and that’s good for all of us.


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