We last left you on Sunday morning getting ready to hit the town before MLS Cup.
11:30AM - Head out from the hotel in search of the CN Town and other assorted Toronto goodness. We run into Lorenzo La Raza in the hotel lobby and he tags along with me, Amy, Gina and Barrett. The Toronto subway has a nice deal on the weekends where you can get a day pass for $10 and it's good for two people.
12:00PM - Off the subway and we're right near the CBC headquarters. As a media addict, it was pretty cool to see their HQ. I'm not nearly as familiar with their shows as BBC though.
12:15PM - Were starving and decide to get some food from a street vendor...you really would be hard pressed to beat the combination of taste and price with me chicken hot dog and fries I got for $4.50. Amy got some fries with the gravy on it...I'm not a huge fan but she liked it. We were outside the Toronto Convention Centre where there was a comicon going on. A pretty surreal thing to be standing behind guys dressed as a ninja and Jack Sparrow in like to get a hot dog.
1:00PM - Our bellies full, we headed to the CN Tower which wasn't far away from where we ate. Amy and Gina had gone there a few years ago, so the guys, including Texas Tech Jon who met us at the tower(sorry for making you wait so long) paid the $25(ouch) and headed up. For me, someone who isn't afraid of heights but isn't totally comfortable either, the worst part was the elevator ride. Basically shooting through the sky at almost 20mph is pretty nuts. The views were stunning, and the glass bottom floor is even more nerve racking than it sounds.
Keep reading for hockey hall of fame and a bar full of FC Dallas fans a thousand miles from home
2:15PM - With the CN Tower crossed off the list, we went and met Amy/Gina at a starbucks near the Air Canada Centre. Interestingly, the Raptors were in the second quarter of their game against the Celtics while we were in the area. There's a huge sports bar/sporting goods store across the street from the Air Canada Centre that had big Rapids/FCD stuff right as you walk in...pretty cool.
3:00PM - After buying an MLS Cup scarf and looking at all the stuff in the store(lots of European soccer gear) the group split in half. Some went back to hotel while Barret, Jon and I went to the Hockey Hall of Fame just a couple of blocks away. I'm not a huge hockey fan, but it was very very cool to see all the historic memorabilia and go to a sports' hall of fame. You can really tell what hockey means to that country. They had some pretty cool interactive games too...and after shooting a hockey puck I can safely say I was not born with a secret talent for the sport.
4:45PM - With about 4 hours until kickoff, we head back to the hotel to meet back up with our group and by 530 we're finally headed back to Shoeless Joes to meet up with the rest of the Dallas fans, get some beer/food and go to the big game.
6:15PM - As we get off the trolley that dropped us off right outside the front door, I'm struck by the fact that there's FC Dallas fans both outside the front door and on the patio. As we walked inside I was absolutely shocked to see a bar absolutely packed to the rafters with FCD fans. As someone who can remember in 2008 going to games where there was just a couple dozen people in the supporters group and just not many people who cared about the game they were watching, it absolutely filled me with pride to see the fans travel like they did.
7:00PM - The beers are downed, the tabs are paid and everyone congregates outside for the big half mile march to the stadium. There's flags, drums and banners while hundreds of fans walked down the street chanting with cars honking at us in celebration as we pass by. A distinct moment I'll never forget was talking with Adelaide(under the "we" in the picture), one of the founders of El Matador who has been a faithful supporters group member/road tripper for almost as long as I have. As we marched down to the stadium to see our team play in MLS Cup, we reminisced on just how far we had come. Games where there was just a handful of us singing for the team in a mostly empty stadium and now we have hundreds of people walking to the championship game a thousand miles from home...I'd be lying if I said we didn't both have tears in our eyes.
Tomorrow, the game, the aftermath and the trip home....Spoilers: It's not the feel good story of the year but there's plenty of emotion
We'll discuss the expansion draft tomorrow too.