TORONTO – After a grueling two months on the road, Toronto FC can finally look forward to kicking off in front of their own fans with BMO Field set to host FC Dallas on Saturday night (7:30 pm ET, TSN4 in Canada, MLS Live in US).
Eight straight games away to start the season was trying, but now TFC have a run of four home matches before returning to the road. The reason for that lengthy journey? The completion of Phase II of extensive renovations to the stadium, including a trio of roofs covering each stand.
“It feels like a whole new stadium,” said club captain Michael Bradley from the ground on Thursday. “When you walk out there now, the whole feel and perspective is entirely different. It sets in that we're getting ready to play a game here which is something that we've all really been waiting for. We're excited to get out there on Saturday with our fans supporting us.”
“It's impressive,” remarked TFC head coach Greg Vanney. “When you walk out the tunnel, it's just this wall of red. With the addition of the roof, it looks like such a proper stadium.”
“Keeping the sound in the building,” the coach added, “[is] going to be amazing. The crowd comes and they make so much noise, they're banging the drums and they're singing. Now it's going to reverberate back into the stands. I can't wait to get everybody in here and see what it looks like, and hopefully put on a good show.”
“[The roof] is only going to make it louder,” said midfielder Jonathan Osorio. “I don't know how loud, but I'm excited [to find out].”
Having sampled nearly every other ground in MLS, Osorio rates the new BMO Field highly. “For me, this definitely makes the top three; arguably, the best. It's beautiful. There's a lot of nice stadiums: I really like Kansas City, what they've established there. Red Bull Arena is really nice. But I like this one better.
“It's amazing what they've done to it,” smiled the Canadian international. “The roof looks amazing; all the renovations are world-class. This is a big step for the club.”
“It's been a while since we played here,” added Bradley. “Everybody should be excited about us coming back – ourselves, our fans, people in the city, everybody. But obviously, it's the first home game of 17. No matter what happens, there's still a lot more work to be done.
“The focus now is about making this place somewhere that opposing teams come and know they're in for a game where it will be hard to get points...In terms of your stadium, your support, the way you play; these things all come together,” explained Bradley.
“And it's important for us to make sure we take advantage of our good start and really make it add up.”