Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tide Is Turning; On And Off The Pitch

Post-match High Still Going Strong

Mood: Wheeeeeeee!!!
State of Mind: That actually happened, right? Will it happen again?
Location: Jubilant supporter couch - Soon, The Duke

                                         Who doesn't love a good celebratory video!

THEY WON!!!  They won, they won, they won. Did I mention that they won? Were you there? Oh I hope that you were because Saturday night is the sort of night that you remember; not just for a day, or a week, or a year, but forever. Am I overstating things? No, I don't think so - Saturday was a special night at BMO and if you were there you know exactly what I mean. You're still smiling aren't you? Still filled with that sense that hey, maybe the tide is finally turning for Canadian soccer? Yeah, me too. 

Was it the perfect game? No. Was it pretty damn close? Yes, yes it was. They played a great first half - the only thing that marred it were some missed scoring opportunities. But our men (still sounds weird, still going with it) had full control of the game, highlighted by some outstanding defensive work led by Kevin McKenna and a monster game by Atiba Hutchinson and JDG in the midfield.  And then that goal!!  The one that some of us missed so quickly and cleverly did they take it.  The one that we were sure was going to be called back at any moment? That was fantastic. So great to see such intelligent play from our team - this is how you win games. And you know what? That was one of the best games I've see the Canadian team play. They were organized, quick, passed the ball, talked to one another and well, they were better; plain and simple. The best game of football I've seen at BMO in six years. Really, I mean that. This is the turning point 

Don't let the empty seats fool you - this was a good 1/2 hour before kickoff - the stands were packed by 8pm.  

But the best thing? The very best thing about Saturday? Being in the stands surrounded by hyper, excited friends, supporters and fans was like nothing else I've ever experienced at BMO.  While we all lamented every time the Canadian forwards seemed afraid to shoot the ball (Shoooot!!!) and groaned in unison when McKenna's header went the wrong way off the post; we were all together - one voice, one purpose, one group of supporters for one team.  If you were there you know what I mean.  I've never had that much fun, been that stressed or felt that part of something at any sporting event I've been to in my life.  17K + (almost 18K) rowdy fans and the vast majority cheering for Canada - while not the sellout that some were hoping for it was a giant leap in the right direction.  To not be outnumbered by Panamanian supporters - Who to their credit were a lot of fun, they brought it but only added to the great atmosphere. Other away teams could learn from them - to have the stands full of flags and fans chanting "Ca-Na-Da" non-stop? Huge for the game here; huge. An truly unforgettable 90 minutes. 

Spirited support for Panama - boy were they loud! - But we were louder.  :)
Since Friday I've talked to so many people who casually went to the game or were taken by friends and family - every single one has bought tickets for the October 12th match against Cuba. This is where the tide turns folks - if you've been dithering for some reason about supporting your national teams, it's time to come out to a game, or go to a viewing party and join us as we agonize and cheer for our team. It's wonderful; really. If you love the beautiful game then this is what you need to watch.  In fact tonight you have another chance to join in on the agony and ecstasy of watching Canada play.  While not a home game tonight's game against Panama is one of the most widely broadcasted games ever.  Not only is Sportsnet showing it (most people get Sportsnet) but you can watch it on CityTV!  Seriously - no excuses - get thee to the TV or pub or friends house and get set to watch this game! Why? Because it's a HUGE game. So big in fact that the Panamanian supporters spent the last two nights having a street party outside the hotel where the Canadian team is staying. That's called respect folks; it they weren't worried they wouldn't bother.  Also exciting about this game is that the Estadio Rommel Fernandez is from all accounts a beautiful facility with a fantastic pitch.  None of that crab grass & gopher holes that they played on in Cuba. So once again (even being without Olivier Occean and Will Johnson) our team stands a very good chance of not just walking away with a point; but all three. Believe me when I tell you this is not a game you want to miss. It will make that game you're coming to in October (because you are coming, right?) all the more special. 



  1. It truly was an unbelievable night at the National Soccer Stadium on Friday. Never been so hoarse, so sore, or so elated after any match I've ever attended.
    Something BIG is happening for this team, you can feel it.

    1. Me too. Took a full two days for my voice to fully return and well, I'm still smiling. I don't think I'm just grasping at optimistic straws when I say the tide is turning; this feels like a different team than the one we watched last fall - so many are playing in such great form right now and they just seem to be getting better. Can't wait for the game in October when we sell out BMO and pack it to the rafters with crazy, cheering Canadians. :)

  2. So glad to hear you have something to cheer about! It's been a tough year for you!