Just call BMO Field The Fortress because visiting teams just can’t win there. Seven times opponents have gone to BMO Field hoping to knock off Toronto FC and seven times they have failed.
Colorado became the latest to fall short, dropping a 3-1 decision to a short-handed Toronto squad that was missing several starters but still didn’t miss a beat. Rohan Ricketts delivered two goals to help keep TFC unbeaten at home (5-0-2) and kept the Rapids struggling along.
SBI Correspondents Duane Rollins and Craig de Aragon watched the match and gave us their perspectives on the match:
Home Sweet Home for TFC
By DUANE ROLLINS
This is our house.
It’s the one chant that truly involves all 20,000 fans at BMO Field. From the rowdies in the south and north ends and moving all the way through Toronto’s small, but evident, prawn sandwich brigade in the middle sections.
This is our house.
When it gets going it seems like the sound might carry across Lake Ontario 70 miles to Buffalo. It must shake the windows of the lake-fronted condos that the prawn eaters live in.
This is our house.
It’s not the most creative chant, nor the favorite of the supporter’s groups, but it’s the most accessible. And, it’s become a calling card of TFC in its second season. One of the team’s TV carriers has worked an ad campaign around the four words—three Toronto players, with three different accents, mouth the words to a camera as scenes of crazy fans intersect.
It’s easy to understand why the chant has become so popular at BMO Field. Beyond its simplicity, it just rings true. In season one there were hints of the type of home field advantage TFC might one-day enjoy–a 4-0 win against FC Dallas, Landon Donovan expressing his belief that Toronto should "never drop points in there"—but the team’s inexperience and lack of depth would even things out for visiting teams.
But, in 2008 the words could not be truer. It is our house. Five wins and two draws. Not a single loss. Just two goals allowed, none during the run of play. Opposing teams play to survive at BMO, not to thrive.
Our house, indeed.
A person watching TFC a week ago in Texas would have been forgiven if they thought that they were watching a different team that the one that tore into a bewildered Colorado Saturday. Even with am improvised line-up due to international call-ups, Toronto plays like losing isn’t possible. It’s positive, attacking. They try things, attack. In short, they play to win.
In short, the exact opposite of the way it played in Houston. There, TFC was in full-on survival mode. Home pitch advantage is a reality the world over, but with Toronto it’s just a little more profound than with most. Maybe it’s the crowd, maybe it’s the FieldTurf, but whatever it is it’s real. And, it’s the reason why TFC sits solidly in a playoff position a little more than two months into the season.
Make no mistake, if Toronto is to ever take thew next step and become a true contender for the Supporter’s Shield or MLS Cup it’s going to have to do a little more away from the lumpy pitch at BMO. But, for the Toronto faithful the creation of a fortress has been a somewhat unexpected Godsend in 2008.
In retrospect, Colorado didn’t have a chance Saturday. No one does. That attitude has infected BMO Field—in the stands and, more importantly, on the pitch.
Taking points at BMO? No way. Not in our house you aren’t.
Season becoming all too predictable for Rapids
By CRAIG de ARAGON
When I sat down to write this my mind was as blank as the Rapids score sheet was in Toronto for most of Saturday. I couldn’t think of any more excuses to give these Rapids the benefit of the doubt for their faults, specifically on the road. We’ve been through the referees, the injuries, the congestion of games, the call ups, the blue shorts, and everything else, and now, the only thing I’m left with it this; the hardest thing for a fan to do, admit that your team just isn’t that good.
Now I am not ready to completely abandon all hopes for this season; and a 3 or 4 game winning streak would certainly change my tune. However, the inconsistency from game to game just is completely frustrating. The Rapids go from being smooth, fluid and making crisp passes with Christian Gomez tormenting the midfield. Or as Christopher Sullivan would say (like he does every FSC broadcast), “their collective movement is flawless.” To a team that looks like they don’t have a clue, a team that just met each other on their way out to the pitch, a team that is as bad as the local broadcasters calling the game (Which if you live in Colorado, you know…they are horrible).
What is the hardest part to get over is that the Rapids have the talent. They have enough pieces to be good on a consistent basis. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance from Omar Cummings and Tom McManus; we’ve seen consistent defending from Facundo Erpen and brilliant midfield play from Gomez. That’s what made me get my hopes up early this year when they played so well. They have talent and they have depth and are actually scoring goals this year (compared to last year).
That blinded me from seeing that this team is headed down the same road they have gone down every year under Fernando Clavijo. The pattern has reared its ugly head again. Come out of the gates fast, fade in the summer, and make a push for the playoffs late in the season. It’s sad that it’s predictable. It’s sad that every year we Rapids faithful fall for it. But that’s what we fans do. It would just be nice if for once, what we believed would come true.