The atmosphere inside BC Place yesterday was electric for Vancouver Whitecaps opening day win against Montreal.
The passion of Canadian football fans has been very evident these last few days, from the 47,658 at Toronto's Skydome on Wednesday to the football-configured capacity 21,000 in Vancouver on Saturday.
It's been a noisy week, with a lot of hoarse voices by the end of it.
We reported a few days ago how impressed some of the new Whitecaps players were when they saw BC Place for the first time at training on Thursday, and the marvel continued for many after experiencing their first game at the stadium.
For new boss Martin Rennie, both his team and the fans were praised in his post-match presser. So how did he find the occasion of his first MLS match in charge? :
"Fantastic. I've been waiting a long time to have a game in front of the fans and to finally get it, it was beyond expectations. I hope we gave them a good show and I hope that they'll be back the next couple of weeks for the game against DC United.
I hope we can put on another show and get similar support, which was fantastic and is a big part of this club.
As the fan support grows, and the team grows confidence wise, this can be a much stronger club and that's exciting for all of us."
There were six debutants for the Caps against Montreal, so AFTN caught up with some Whitecaps, both old and new, in the dressing room after the game to see how they found the whole atmosphere of 'First Kick 2012'.
Sebastien Le Toux made a dream start, opening his Whitecaps account with a goal after just four minutes. The Frenchman is used to playing in front of noisy crowds. What did he think of BC Place in comparison? :
"The atmosphere was great. I was a bit surprised by the big megatron on top because I was sometimes trying to look for the minute of the game and I was always in the middle, so I can't even see, so I was trying to run and look at it.
The fans were fantastic. The fans behind the goal were cheering all day.
I'm just lucky to play in this stadium all the time. The fans were great. They were great in Seattle, they were great in Philly and I can see in Vancouver it's the same. For a player it's just wonderful. It keeps me going and I don't get tired, so I thank them for coming today."
'Man of the Match', Jun Marques Davidson, was another debutant who made an impression and he echoed Le Toux's sentiments:
"It's great. Hopefully as we win more, we can put more people in the top area and make the full atmosphere. It's an amazing atmosphere to play in."
Substitute Matt Watson is used to playing in lower league stadia and he loved every minute of his Whitecaps debut out there, after coming on in the 81st minute:
"It was amazing. Obviously I've never experienced anything like that.
The fans seemed to be behind the team for the whole time and when I came on I was kind of blown away by the atmosphere and everything.
When I came on the pitch, my adrenaline was going and stuff. To hear them chanting and that, it was amazing. It was kind of overwhelming, but obviously once you get on, the adrenaline just takes over and you just gotta play.
The fans are amazing and it's an amazing club. Glad we could get the win for them and hopefully it continues."
Sometimes the noise generated at BC Place doesn't fully come across on the TV, due to the muting of mics during parts of the game. For those of us in the stadium it is loud as hell. The "booms" at Joe Cannon free kicks were echoing like crazy Saturday, but on the other hand, sometimes it is hard for chants in one part of the stadium to carry even just a few sections over.
We'll leave the final words to captain Jay DeMerit. He experienced the Vancouver atmospheres at Empire Field and BC Place stadiums last season, but playing in front of a fired up crowd never gets old for the veteran:
"It was good. It was very good. BC Place is a stadium that is only going to keep getting better.
The times when we can get the fans on the same page, you can hear the noise.
Now it's just our job, all of us, from the players down to the fans to start learning some new chants, to start getting together and make sure we're all yelling at the same time, then I think it'll be even better."