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Trillium Cup 2009 Predictions.


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TORONTO -- The banners are painted and noisemakers and drums dusted off from a long harsh northern winter as plenty of tailgating and good-natured trash-talking will take place this weekend in the parking lot at Columbus Crew Stadium.

The Buckeye State and the city of Columbus are bracing themselves for an invasion of close to 2,500 red scarf wearing Canadian soccer fans on Saturday when the Columbus Crew play host to Toronto FC in the first leg of the 2009 Trillium Cup.

The event seems to be an annual first rite of spring for soccer fans from Ohio and southern Ontario.

"After last year's first game at Crew Stadium I know the Columbus fans are expecting us and I hope they come out in full force and bring even more of an electric atmosphere to the stadium than last year," said Red Patch Boys club president Jack DePoe of Toronto.

"Everyone in our club is in a state of euphoria over the match and we are going to take Crew Stadium over this weekend. When we chant 'This is our house' at the stadium, it will be true."

DePoe said this year's turnout of traveling fans could be slightly higher than last year's numbers even despite the economic downturn in both countries.

Defending MLS champion Columbus has won both previous installments of the annual regular season Trillium Cup series since Toronto joined the league in 2007. The Crew have compiled an overall record of three wins and three ties, scoring nine goals to Toronto's three.

The relatively close proximity of the two cities has led to what some have claimed is the largest traveling contingent of MLS fans in league history and the rivalry has also sparked a healthy war of words between the political leaders of both cities.

On Wednesday, Toronto Mayor David Miller -- a Toronto FC season-ticket holder -- and Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman exchanged jabs in anticipation of the Trillium Cup. rematch.

"I didn't like Toronto FC last year and I don't like them now," Coleman said while dedicating a street sign at Crew Stadium in commemoration of last year's MLS Cup win by the Crew over the New York Red Bulls.

Colmubus Crew president Mark McCullers reminded everyone that Toronto fans went home "much more humble" after last year's games in Columbus with Toronto losing both matches.

Mayor Miller, also a key proponent in the building of Toronto's soccer-specific stadium, BMO Field, says a new wager will be struck between he and Coleman in the coming days.

Miller said he was unhappy after he lost last year's bet and was forced to present the Trillium Cup trophy to the Crew wearing a yellow Columbus jersey.

"It was embarrassing and appalling," Miller said in The Globe and Mail on Thursday. "I had to wear their ugly yellow shirt and take photos of the cup in the stadium that I helped build, that is the last time that is going to happen."

After the good-natured cross-border shots, Mayor Coleman acknowledged that the influx of Toronto fans is really a major boost to the local economy with hotel and restaurants benefiting from the traveling supporters and city officials hope the pilgrimage by Canadians becomes an annual event.

"I think the rivalry is fantastic and we are in touch with Mayor Coleman to see what we can do about a new wager this year," said Miller. "They will be challenged this time around, TFC is in its ascendancy and I think Columbus have peaked -- I think the traveling fans will have a huge amount to cheer about this time around."

Toronto FC have four official supporters groups -- The Red Patch Boys, North End Elite, USector and Tribal Rhythm Nation -- many of which will board buses at 4:15 a.m. Saturday morning for the long 423-mile, 7-hour drive south.

Many others will be driving themselves and some flying via major airlines.

"Toronto FC fans are die-hard, win or lose we represent with pride," said Duane DaSilva of Tribal Rhythm Nation." We are willing to travel to support the team and also be a pain for the home team -- which gives our team an advantage in the stands -- we will be jumping, chanting and beating drums and will be the 12th man for TFC for the full 90 minutes." Added Ryan Key of USector: "Just being able to turn an away game into a de facto home game makes it all worth while. As supporters we want to see as much of the team as possible so if we take a 7-hour bus ride to do it -- so be it."

During a practice session earlier this week, Toronto FC coach John Carver acknowledged that having fans support the team for road games is a huge morale boost.

"It's an amazing lift to walk out of the tunnel and see so many people dressed in red supporting us," Carver said. "It was my first game in charge of Toronto when we played in Columbus to open the season last year and we keep talking about the great fans but when you see all those people who have traveled to support us it is truly inspirational."

Both teams won their opening games last weekend, with Columbus rallying for a 2-1 win away to the Houston Dynamo and Toronto hanging on for a 3-2 victory in Kansas City.

More than 200 Toronto fans attended last weekend's game in Kansas City -- four fans actually made the 16-hour, one-way drive by car.

Toronto native Dwayne De Rosario, who has been selected to the MLS All-Star First XI for three consecutive seasons, was a key offseason acquisition for Toronto and set up two goals in their opening win against the Wizards. The 9-year MLS veteran, who grew up in his suburban Toronto neighbourhood of Scarborough watching the Blizzard of the now defunct North American Soccer League, got his first professional start playing for the Toronto Lynx of the United Soccer Leagues.

"It's a great feeling to see the support soccer in Toronto is getting these days," said DeRosario. "Playing in Columbus and seeing thousands of fans coming out to support us -- all I can say is hats off to them and hopefully we can get a result so their drive back will be much more enjoyable than last year."

One Toronto fan told MLSnet.com that a banner will be erected in the upper deck of Crew Stadium mimicking a popular milk advertisement that asks the question "Got Milk?"; the Toronto FC banner will be a question to Crew supporters "Got fans?".

A stones throw from BMO Field on King Street, the operators of one of the supporters clubs haunts, Shoeless Joe's Pub, are expecting a large number of TFC supporters who didn't make the trip to Columbus. A live simulcast of the game is planned on their big screen TV while cable operator GolTV are broadcasting the game coast-to-coast in Canada via tape delay.

Peter Mallett is a contributor to MLSnet.com.

What a great name for a Cup competition

Although the fruit of the buckeye tree has symbolized Ohio since the mid-1800s, it wasn't until 1904 that the scarlet carnation was chosen as our official state flower. This flower was a favorite of William McKinley and was adopted by the state legislature partly because it represented a token of love and reverence for the Ohio president. When Legislator Elijah W. Hill introduced the adoption resolution on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives, he said, in part: "England has the rose, France has the lily; Ireland, the shamrock; Scotland, the thistle. These flowers awaken in the hearts of the natives of these countries memories of home, fireside, childhood days, sweet sorrows, family ties, and incidents of the land of their nativity. To these ends we seek to adopt the scarlet carnation as Ohio's floral emblem."

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quote:Originally posted by Mpenza

Ok, maybe not fake. Pointless, rather?

I agree. There is no natural rivalry between Toronto and Columbus. If you can't call it a derby you shouldn't call it a cup.

BTW: Mpenza the Grizzly Cup will be a parallel competition to the Voyageurs Cup going to the supporters group that can go to the enemy's town and bang the most chicks (on a per capita basis of course)!:D

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quote:Originally posted by Grizzly

I agree. There is no natural rivalry between Toronto and Columbus. If you can't call it a derby you shouldn't call it a cup.

BTW: Mpenza the Grizzly Cup will be a parallel competition to the Voyageurs Cup going to the supporters group that can go to the enemy's town and bang the most chicks (on a per capita basis of course)!:D

Grizzly .. you need to let any of the female only supporters groups in on such a competition. Does TFC have a female only Brigade ?
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