– Toronto FC Transfers, Trades, Signings & Rumors

TFC supporters gear up for Crew
March 26, 2009, 7:15 AM
Filed under: Columbus Crew, North End Elite, Red Patch Boys, Toronto FC, Usector

As an estimated 2,500 red-clad Toronto FC fans prepared themselves for Saturday’s pilgrimage south for a Major League Soccer match against the Columbus Crew, the cities’ two political leaders exchanged good-natured jabs.

“I didn’t like Toronto FC last year, and I don’t like them now,” Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman said yesterday, while rededicating a street adjacent to 22,555-seat Crew Stadium as Champions Way in recognition of the team’s 2008 MLS Cup victory.

While TFC have been a box-office smash at home, the third-year MLS franchise has yet to make the playoffs or beat the Crew, their rival in the annual three-game regular-season Trillium Cup competition.

Last year, the Crew went 1-0-2 against TFC to claim the honour — a sore point with Toronto Mayor David Miller, who said he and his Columbus counterpart will make another gentleman’s wager ahead of Saturday’s game.

“That was embarrassing and appalling last year,” Miller said of losing the 2008 bet. “I had to wear their ugly yellow shirt and take photos of the Cup in the [TFC] stadium … that is the last time that is going to happen.”

TFC supporters are abuzz about the early play of the team and its key off-season acquisition, forward Dwayne De Rosario, who was born and raised in Scarborough and began his professional career with the Toronto Lynx of the United Soccer Leagues.

De Rosario, who was a selected to the MLS all-star squad for a third consecutive season last year, was traded to Toronto in December for defender Julius James and allocation money. He made an immediate impact in setting up two goals in Toronto’s opening 3-2 win at Kansas City last weekend.

“It is a great feeling to see the support soccer is getting in Toronto from those days when I played with the Lynx,” De Rosario said. “My hat goes off to the thousands of people who will be driving all day and night just to see our game [Saturday]. Hopefully, we will get a result this year and make the drive home more enjoyable.”

Red Patch Boys supporters’ club president Jack DePoe is confident this year’s 680-kilometre road trip will draw equal to — or surpass — last year’s numbers of 2,500 Toronto fans. He said that 200 TFC fans attended last weekend’s game in Kansas City.

“Everyone in the Red Patch Boys are in a state of euphoria right now about soccer and the new season, and we are going down to take that stadium over this weekend,” he said. “When we chant ‘This is our house’ at their stadium, it will be true.”

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