Monday, November 22, 2010
The failure of BMO Field
By Peter Welpton
In the aftermath of MLS Cup 2010, it now seems obvious that BMO Field was a failure as the site for MLS Cup.
In the hour leading up to the contest MLS Commish Don Garber held a press conference where he announced that the league was going to start "investigating" the idea of following the FIFA Calendar. Garber claims that for FIFA's Sepp Blatter, this is priority number one for MLS to become a legit league. Garber pointed out that if MLS were following the FIFA calendar, Sunday night's match would be a regular season outing and potentially a good indictor if the idea of playing soccer in mid November, December or any other famously chilly winter night was going to fly with MLS fans.
If Toronto can't fill up it's quaint 21,700 seater for MLS Cup, even if TFC isn't playing, well then the idea of a Revs-Quake match in early December on a cold New England evening, or a Philly-Houston tie in February, is all just silly talk, isn't it?
That makes playing the Championship match in bitterly cold, windy conditions - on purpose - a flat out a bad idea. Its not charming in that "Green Bay Packers" kind of way. It is poor decision making.
There was a noticeable number of seats vacant in the leading moments of the match. By halftime they had grown to large empty patches, not unlike the brown areas in my front yard, so that by the the time the second half started you knew Garber, MLS, and its decision makers were embarrassed.
There was talk that TFC fans did this on purpose. Because the club and league had "forced" them to purchase MLS Cup tickets with their 2011 season ticket packages, and because TFC has been a four year failure on the pitch, fans had organized a boycott with the purpose of humiliating the club and league. If true, this was a selfish and shameful decision that merely harmed the league and likely did nothing to help their cause for a better product on the pitch.