Thursday, February 26, 2009

That night in Montreal ...

The image of MLS commissioner Don Garber doing a spit take all over his BlackBerry — Montreal won?! —, well, that's a good place to start.

Eduardo Sebrango scored both goals for the Impact in their 2-0 CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final first-leg win over Santos Laguna of Mexico in front of 55,571 absolute nutters at Olympic Stadium. It's early yet to know what kind of watershed this is for Canadian footy, but as D. Rollins says in his 24th Minute post, "Maybe every person who has fought to bring this sport into the mainstream in Canada also walked away with a victory."

One would hope that succeeding years prove that to be more right than wrong, regardless of how much or how little you're into soccer. Canada only excelling in team sports which a small, snow-bound fraction of the world cares about is gets old pretty quickly. Obviously, CONCACAF's club competition is several rungs below the Champions League or the Copa in South America, but what counts here is people investing themselves emotionally in their local team, and by extension, the sport on their own continent, rather than settling for watching it via satellite.

That, at least in this recovering soccerphobe's opinion, is what Garber showed the back of hand when he tried to demand a $40-million franchise fee out of the Impact and owner Joey Saputo. Now the Impact, for one night at least, are the toast of fans across North America, while Garber is in scramble mode trying to find an ownership group willing to ante up in the midst of a recession.

Who knows what Montreal winning, especially since even a casual Canadian fan knows not to count on anything when one of our teams heads south of the Rio Grande for a game. Duane is the guy who gets football and he says don't even try to understand it, so it might be foolish to try. Let's just say it was great. It wasn't aired live in CBC prime time, but the next time something like this comes along, it probably will, which is progress. That contributes to a great night all-around. Let's keep hoping it leads someplace.


Anonymous said...

When can we start referring to the MLS as North America's second division?

Andrew Bucholtz said...

It's great to see a win like that from Montreal. More evidence that the USL isn't as crap as some think, especially at the top. Still, referring to MLS as the second division is quite a stretch at this point; it's still much better overall than the USL.

Anonymous said...

I think the first poster was being somewhat facetious in referring to the MLS as "second division".
However, this game and that crowd points out one the heck could Montreal NOT be in the running for an MLS franchise?
If the masterminds in the MLS had any brains whatsoever, they would fast track Montreal into their league.
Toronto has already proven its worth, and Montreal certainly has shown it is on at least a par with Toronto.