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My experience at the 2018 Canadian Championship final

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The best last-minute plan I’ve ever made.

MLS: Canadian Championship-Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night Toronto FC “three-peated” as Canadian Championship winners, lifting the Voyageurs Cup for a seventh time, and I was lucky enough to be in the stands to take it all in. Here’s how my day went.

Approximately 4:30 PM

Before I went to BMO Field I stopped for a bite to eat at a place familiar to many TFC fans, Smoke’s Poutinerie in Liberty Village, and as I was leaving, I overheard two people discussing my lineup prediction for the match. It was a really cool moment and put a massive smile on my face, so thank you anonymous article-readers.

Then came the time to focus on the important stuff — the match itself. I had only managed to secure my tickets to the match around 10:30 on Tuesday night, and was more excited for this match than any previous trip to BMO Field, knowing that a victory could very well be the biggest moment of the season, and a potential turning point in TFC’s hunt for a playoff spot. A victory would send the Reds to the CONCACAF Champions League, allowing them a chance to redeem their loss in this year’s final, which surely crushed their confidence, contributing to their awful league form to start the season. A victory in this match could be the confidence booster needed to kick-start a crucial stretch of the season, which will include a lot of travelling and physically challenging matches: away to San Jose, back to Toronto for a tilt with the Impact, back west to Portland before returning for matches against LAFC and LA Galaxy at home.

Approximately 7 p.m.

Already in my seat for the night, in section 116 with the Kings of the North, there was a positive aura around the stadium unlike any I had felt before. There was a confidence among the fans that set the match up to be either a rewarding victory or another crushing defeat.

Fans across the south end were already in full voice before the warmup had ended, serenading Jonathan Osorio with of “He’s one of our own,” and singing the names of the players expected to be lifting the trophy in a few hours. BMO Field was buzzing. Kickoff was near.

Approximately 8:30 p.m.

Scarves were waving, streamers were flying and the fans were singing. The on-field product was pretty good as well, as Jozy Altidore had just opened the scoring. The first goal in a big night for TFC sent the fans into a near-euphoric state, as the incredible roar from the supporters in the south end was deafening. Sebastian Giovinco would double the lead five minutes later with his first (and likely last) diving header, and The Reds entered half time at 2-0 up, 4-2 on aggregate.

MLS: Canadian Championship-Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

My first goal with a header.... might also be my last

A post shared by Sebastian Giovinco (@sebagiovincoofficial) on

Here’s a photo of the view from where I was standing:

Approximately 9 p.m.

TFC got off to an quick start in the second half, as Jozy scored his second of the game in the 49th minute, giving Toronto a 3-0 advantage, which seemed to seal the match. The Whitecaps, seemingly understanding that there was little hope left, immediately brought Christian Techera and Alphonso Davies off the pitch. Moments later, in the 53rd minute, Altidore struck again, completing his hat trick and giving Toronto a 4-0 lead, 6-2 on aggregate.

Kei Kamara and Brek Shea pulled a couple of goals back for the Whitecaps, setting up an exciting final 15 minutes at BMO Field.

MLS: Canadian Championship-Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Approximately 9:30 p.m.

Tosaint Ricketts finished off the match with a fifth Toronto FC goal and the party was on at BMO Field. The final 10 minutes of the match flew by as chants of “T-F-C! T-F-C!” thundered around the ground. After the two teams shook hands and medals were handed out, the moment we were all waiting for had finally arrived.

Michael Bradley waited for what seemed like hours to get the celebrations started, holding the Voyageurs Cup at his chest before dramatically hoisting it into the air for a third consecutive year, sending the fans into the same frenzy as after the first Altidore goal.

Chris Mavinga, as usual, stole the trophy and walked around the perimeter of the stadium, allowing fans to touch/take photos with it. Jonathan Osorio did something similar, actually bringing it into the south end for a couple of them to lift the trophy.

MLS: Canadian Championship-Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Approximately 10 p.m.

I finally left the stadium. After sticking around for a while to celebrate with the team and my fellow supporters, I decided to call it a night and begin to make my way home, but not before a fan approached me and asked for a photo:

It was an incredible day, and not one that I will forget any time soon. From the warmup to the confetti flying above the players’ heads, there was no place I’d rather be on a Wednesday night.

MLS: Canadian Championship-Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports