Major League Soccer is finally returning to Canada when CF Montreal, Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC will play at their respective home stadiums this weekend.
Due to the pandemic, the three Canadian MLS sites had trained and competed in the United States to avoid complications during the regular season. CF Montreal used Inter Miami’s installations in Fort Lauderdale, Vancouver Whitecaps collaborated with Real Salt Lake in Utah and Toronto FC in connection with Orlando City.
The three Canadian sides faced unknown territory and challenges during their relocation, where Montreal even encountered an alligator during one of their training sessions in South Florida.
The trio has not played at home since September 2020. Montreal last showed at Saputo Stadium on September 9 when the team beat Toronto in front of 250 spectators. Vancouver’s final game at BC Place Stadium saw the side win 2-1 over Montreal on September 16 without anyone in the stands. Toronto spent the most time away, most recently at BMO Field on September 1 before playing 31 games on the road. Their homecoming means as much to the fans as to the clubs.
Do you feel at home? # ️ #TFCLive @TorontoFC pic.twitter.com/vQ99vFl0yb
– Chris Mavinga (@Chris_Mavinga) July 16, 2021
“The significance of this return home for our team cannot be overstated,” TFC President Bill Manning said in a statement. “It’s been a long, hard time on the road due to pandemic protocols and we have greatly missed the energy and support of our fans at BMO Field. Our return to Canada gave the team an incredible boost this week and we look forward to an emotional night. at BMO Field with our fans on Saturday. “
Montreal shared the excitement when the Canadian government also agreed to let fans return to the arena to support their MLS teams. Individuals were originally banned on March 7, 2020, with a brief exception in September for 250 spectators before the arenas sealed their doors to the public again.
“After all this is gone, we are really happy to finally be able to play at home,” said Montreal President and CEO Kevin Gilmore in a statement. , but they have shown tremendous resilience. Our fans have also been remarkably patient throughout this period, and we can’t wait to see them at the Stade Saputo on Saturday. We hope this is another step in the right direction towards a complete return. “