After weeks of speculation, Vancouver Whitecaps found out their first ever MLS opponents today – Toronto FC.
Early rumours had hinted at New York Red Bulls providing the Caps First Kick but these were soon dispelled, with Canada’s perennial failures TFC becoming the favourites for this role in recent days and so it proved to be.
It’s not what I would have chosen to be honest to kick off our MLS era. If you asked the fans, the games they’re most looking forward to are Seattle, Portland and Toronto. To have one of these “glamour” games right at the start of the season, with both teams still trying to find their feet isn’t ideal and won’t give us as cracking a game as we could get a few months into the campaign.
Still, I guess it will give us the chance to show the Canadian public who the real deal is in Canadian football from an early stage.
As a non Canadian, I really don’t give much of a flying fuck about TFC or Toronto when it comes to fooball. I also don’t have a big chip on my shoulder about Toronto and the attitude of it’s population.
Toronto FC are an irrelevance to me in anything except the Canadian Championship. Then they’re our rivals. In MLS, Portland and Seattle take that role. It’s easier to build a rivalry when fans can just hop into their car and travel to away games with ease and not have to fly to the other side of the country to do that.
I also have more interest and concerns about teams that are likely to be our playoff challengers. Toronto FC don’t fall into that category.
The game is scheduled to be played at Empire Field on Saturday March 19th with a kick-off time to still be determined.
Our home opener, and first ever MLS match, was always going to be a big occasion no matter who the opponents were. Let’s just hope that the Caps front office don’t fuck things up like I feel they have done with so many other things so far. Kick off time for this is very important.
In recent seasons, when the Toronto Mapleleafs come to town to play the Vancouver Canucks in men’s ice skating, the Canucks face-off time is brought forward from the usual 7pm or 7.30pm to 4pm to please those watching out east and CBC television. It’s total bullshit and shame on the Canucks for doing this.
We can only hope that the Whitecaps aren’t as easily swayed by the TV companies and lure of pleasing Toronto people.
A 4pm kick off is likely. One ticket rep told me earlier this year, when I queried why they were having so many early kick off times, that “the Vancouver public won’t come out and watch in the cold evenings”. Seriously?
Evening kick offs and night matches are one of the things that mkae football atmospheres.
It could be worse of course, we could still be dumped with a 1pm kick off to avoid the hockey starting at 4pm. If the Caps agree to this, the little respect that I still have for the front office would have all but disappeared.
So can we rely on the Caps not to fuck this up? I wouldn’t be putting money on that. Hopefully we can get a decision soon.